By Jeremy Hritz
The Steelers finally got their second win after a three-game tailspin that had fans everywhere questioning the quality of this team. While there are still many questions about just what this team is about and what the potential of the team is, it is much easier to look for the answers to these questions following a win. As the Steelers get ready to play a wounded Seattle Seahawks team, there is an opportunity to get to .500 and to get this season on track. With that said, here are my Steelers Study Notes for this victory Monday.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for the year, and the wide receiver corps has taken a shot in terms of its talent and depth. James Washington will be called upon to play more of a role in JuJu’s absence, as well as Cody White, and potentially Rico Bussey or Steven Sims. It’s disappointing and sad to see JuJu go out this way, as more than likely he has played his final game in a Steelers uniform.
- In a move of obliviousness, I omitted the offensive line from the Honor Roll list from yesterday’s game. The OL was tremendous played their best game of the young season and showed what can happen they are in sync and playing in unison. I have been talking all preseason and early season long that around game 4 or 5, we would know the potential/ability of this group. If it can run block and pass protect as it did against Denver, things are looking up for this offense. And kudos to Chuks Okorafor for keeping Von Miller quiet on the stat sheet. Overall quality performance by this group.
- Free agent wide receiver Anthony Miller who was a second round pick of the Chicago Bears visited with the Steelers, and it appears he will be signed to the practice squad. Miller has produced some in the NFL, and a plan for how he will fit into the wide receiving room following JuJu’s injury will more than likely be worked out over the bye week. A plan will have to be in place to replace JuJu, and it will be interesting to see if Miller is part of this process.
- This team needs Stephon Tuitt back on the defensive line, not just to tighten up the run defense, but to help aid the pass rush. Teddy Bridgewater had way too much time yesterday, and Tuitt can cause some havoc on the defensive line which could potentially open up the rush for the outside linebackers with his disruptiveness and the resources he would require to block from opposing offensive lines.
- Speaking of the OLBs, where have they been? After starting the year on a tear, they have been dormant the past few games, and they need to get going for this defense to dominate moving forward. Hopefully, it’s just an enough of fully recovering from injuries and establishing continuity.
- Ben Roethlisberger played his best game of the season, playing within a system, not trying to do too much. In other words, he was the Ben 2.0 I discussed earlier this offseason. As long as the running game can be successful, it will open up many avenues to success for the passing game, and allow Ben to have more options open downfield. If they can play this brand of offensive football, they will be able to win some games.
- With Juju out, I figured that the tight ends will become more involved in the passing game, as all three caught a pass yesterday. And how surprising was it to see Zach Gentry make a catch and rumble down the field for a solid gain.
- Hate to call the Sunday Night game against the Seahawks as a must win, but if the Steelers want to stay alive in competing for a playoff berth, then yes, it is a must win. Can’t lose this win, especially when Seattle will not be at full strength. Move to 3-3, and it’s a much different outlook heading into the bye week.
That is all for today! Make it a great week!