May This Be Mike Tomlin’s Finest Crew in Years?
Regardless of being a wild card group in 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers in all probability mustn’t have been capable of sneak into the post-season given their 42-21 drubbing within the first spherical to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Since that point, Mike Tomlin and his workers have made vital adjustments to the roster through free company signings and the NFL draft.
In reviewing these adjustments and additions, the 2022 group might very properly be one in every of Tomlin’s finest groups ever. Whereas the defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals who additionally received the AFC title are thought-about by many to be the favorites in Pittsburgh’s division the Baltimore Ravens and maybe the Browns may additionally be forward of Pittsburgh when ranked.
With a strong draft and a few key free agent acquisitions, that is ABSOLUTELY not the identical group from final season. With Ben Roethlisberger retired, Steelers followers enter a brand new period undecided but who the subsequent franchise quarterback is. Mitch Trubisky got here onboard through free company and whereas his brief profession up to now has been up and down he’s a longtime starter within the NFL and must maintain off the problem of Pittsburgh’s total #1 draft choose from this yr, Kenny Pickens who stays house after his collegiate profession on the College of Pittsburgh.
Whereas some Black and Gold followers are tremendous excited concerning the drafting of Pickens, two free brokers have me very inspired concerning the possibilities of success for the Steelers in 2022. For his first six seasons within the NFL, Myles Jack performed for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a standout linebacker there averaging 85 tackles per season and practically 56 solo tackles per marketing campaign. He provides two compelled fumbles and one fumble restoration for a landing that went for a distance of 81 yards in 2017. Jack is a tackling machine and mixed with T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, Alex Highsmith, Robert Spillane, and Ulysees Gilbert, simply to call the important thing males at linebacker, Pittsburgh’s unit there immediately turns into means higher.
The opposite title added to the roster that Steelers followers needs to be smiling about is Levi Wallace. Nonetheless very younger at 27 and with simply 4 seasons beneath his belt, this former Buffalo Invoice has six interceptions in his 4 seasons but additionally has registered 219 tackles from the cornerback positions, 171 of these solo tackles. In his sophomore season he began all 16 video games however due to an damage began in solely 12 the next yr. Final season he began all 17 video games. Count on Wallace to be in a nook place as a starter come opening day.
Wait, there’s extra about free company. Additionally signed have been James Daniels and Mason Cole. Daniels is available in from the Chicago Bears the place he began 48 of 54 video games and is a longtime strong middle. At 6’4” and 327 kilos he seems to be the Steelers’ subsequent beginning middle. Enjoying alongside him will probably be Cole. Additionally, a middle who performed his first three seasons in Arizona earlier than placing in a single season with the Vikings, Cole might be discovering himself enjoying elsewhere on Pittsburgh’s o-line this season. One other huge man at 6’5”, 298, the addition of those two giants makes Pittsburgh’s offensive line a lot better and was a particular needy space within the low season.
Whereas Levi Wallace is a superb addition, the Steelers made the choice to not convey again veteran Joe Haden who grew to become a free agent. Maybe Wallace is taken into account to be his alternative however Pittsburgh could find yourself being a bit weak on the nook. Cameron Sutton has made progress bettering his sport however apart from these two others vying for enjoying time will probably be Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre, Ahkello Witherspoon, Tre Norwood, Carlins Platel, Chris Steele, and Linden Stephens. Of that group, Platel and Steele are rookies.
Supporting the corners are the safeties and that group has extra expertise than the corners. The safeties are comprised of Terrell Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Karl Joseph, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, and Donovan Stiner. In entrance of the secondary and linebackers is the entrance line of defense with Cameron Heyward main the way in which. Tyson Alualu brings a wealth of NFL expertise however there’s a big-time buzz concerning the potential of rookie DeMarvin Leal out of Texas a&M.
Heading into this summer season’s coaching camp the concentration is going to primarily be on the quarterback place and who turns into Ben Roethlisberger’s alternative. With “Huge Ben” stepping down because the franchise quarterback, veteran Mitch Trubisky was signed out of free company and the previous Bears and Payments signal-caller has had a checkered profession up to now. Believing he would robotically turn into the starter though Mason Rudolph had been holding the clipboard for Roethlisberger for years, now Trubisky should not solely combat off Rudolph however Pittsburgh’s first total choose from the draft, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett. Some imagine Pickett may win the beginning job when opening day arrives. As soon as Trubisky was signed, Rudolph had no probability to begin and with the addition of Pickett, he could not even gown for some video games.
Ben Roethlisberger in all probability stayed enjoying two seasons too lengthy however now that he’s on the sidelines, both Trubisky or Pickett could have some fairly good weapons and the bolstered o-line will assist them discover success. JuJu Smith-Schuster is now not a Steeler however an excellent Diontae Johnson returns and Tomlin and his offensive workers are very excessive on rookie draft choose George Pickens. That may be a enjoyable name in some unspecified time in the future to listen to “Pickett to Pickens.” Chase Claypool must tone down his conceitedness and play some ball as within the offseason he was declaring himself as one of many NFL’s finest at receiver.
With a greater offensive line, sophomore Najee Harris ought to be capable of enhance on his rookie marketing campaign that noticed him rush for 1,200 yards and rating seven touchdowns. Complementing Harris will probably be Anthony McFarland who has but to succeed in his full potential in addition to Benny Snell. Trey Edmunds has proven flashes of brilliance however wants extra consistency.
So simply how will the Steelers truthful within the 2022 season? Maintain this in your thoughts as meals for thought…Mike Tomlin has NEVER had a dropping season in 15 years. That’s spectacular. His groups have completed at .500 thrice and he has a career-winning share of .643. For coaches who’ve been on the helm for not less than 10 seasons or extra, solely 11 different coaches have a greater received/loss share and there are some historic names and corridor of famers on that checklist.
Tomlin finds himself in a really elite group with regards to profitable share with names like John Madden, Vince Lombardi, George Allen, George Halas, Don Shula, Paul Brown, and Invoice Belichick amongst these prime 11 coaches. So far as victories, Tomlin ranks 18th all-time however will certainly climb that checklist earlier than he calls it quits. With 46 extra victories, he’ll put himself within the prime 10 all-time. Will he surpass the late and legendary Chuck Noll someday and turn into the winningest head coach in Pittsburgh Steelers historical past? That is determined by how lengthy he stays on the sidelines. Noll completed with 193 wins and Tomlin enters the 2022 season with 154.
As for the three head coaches Pittsburgh has had since 1969 which is simply unbelievable as different groups sift by way of head coaches again and again, Tomlin sports activities the perfect profitable share besting Noll’s .566 mark and Invoice Cowher’s .623. Tomlin’s 154 profession wins are additionally higher than Cowher’s 149. As any Steelers fan is aware of, Chuck Noll received 4 Tremendous Bowls, Invoice Cowher received one and misplaced one, and Tomlin has been there twice profitable the primary time and dropping to the Packers in a return efficiency.
So the query stays, given the 2022 schedule can Mike Tomlin’s group register one other profitable season? Higher but, will they be playoff-bound once more? In 15 seasons, the Steelers beneath Mike Tomlin have missed the postseason simply 5 instances. Within the playoffs, nevertheless, Tomlin’s report is beneath .500 albeit barely at 8-9. Right here’s who the Steelers face this forthcoming season:
- September 11: at Bengals
- September 18: vs Patriots
- September 22: at Browns
- October 2: vs Jets
- October 9: at Payments
- October 16: vs Buccaneers
- October 23: at Dolphins
- October 30: at Eagles
- November 20: vs Bengals
- November 28: at Colts
- December 4: at Falcons
- December 11: vs Ravens
- December 18: at Panthers
- December 24: vs Raiders
- January 1: at Ravens
- January 7/8: vs Browns
In doing a fast rundown of the schedule and making a fast prediction on a closing report for Pittsburgh, I can see the Steelers profitable 9 or 10 video games on this schedule in the event that they keep wholesome. That may give Mike Tomlin yet one more profitable season. It’s a credit score to Tomlin that he has but to complete beneath .500. Even the best head coaches have suffered eventually one dropping season. The person with probably the most wins, Don Shula skilled simply two sub-par .500 campaigns in 33 years. George Halas who had an unfathomable 40-year head teaching profession went by way of simply six dropping seasons throughout that lone tenure.
Invoice Belichick thought-about by many to be the best coach ever, has seen six seasons that his group completed with a dropping report. That features the time he was teaching the Cleveland Brown. Former Steelers coach Invoice Cowher spent 15 years with the Steelers the identical as Mike Tomlin had three beneath .500 seasons. Chuck Noll? Seven dropping campaigns. It stays to be seen how this season pans out for the Pittsburgh Steelers however the outlook is promising.