Steelers fans remain blindly optimistic towards upcoming season

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) and receiver Calvin Austin II (19) participate in drills during Rookie Minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) and receiver Calvin Austin II (19) participate in drills during Rookie Minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Optimism best describes the feelings many Steelers fans have towards this upcoming season. A new face at quarterback has analysts wondering if Mike Tomlin and his squad will compete for a playoff berth.

One thing is for sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers front office has performed better than most NFL staffs across the league when planning for the future. Their consistency has earned the fans’ trust – who intend to follow their squad blindly but boldly. Uncertain of what is to come this season, is it outlandish to think Pittsburgh is a team to watch in 2022?

Leaving Mike Tomlin’s squad out of preseason playoff predictions is disrespectful – but understandable. Throughout history, the Steelers have continued to prove that they are in the upper tier of the competitive ranking. Six of the last seven playoff brackets have held a spot for the men in gold and black.

Venturing deep into the playoff bracket has been the cause of concern for the Steelers. In 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Denver Broncos in the AFC Conference championship – and have failed to return since.

Playing behind a veteran like Ben Roethlisberger gave Pittsburgh hope last season of reuniting with a chance on the big stage. An unsuccessful effort and retirement left fans questioning what could be next for their team.

Steelers fans are forced to trust the process

Replacing No.7 would require Pittsburgh to relinquish additional assets or more rebuilding time. Neither solution would benefit the team in the future. Instead of waiting for the NFL draft, Pittsburgh signed Mitch Trubisky to a two-year deal worth over $14 million.

Believing that Trubisky could replace the shoes of Roethlisberger was unrealistic. Experience has helped develop the professional gunslinger, but not enough to lead an offense to a postseason in his introduction season. Finding success has been difficult for Trubisky. His time with the Chicago Bears had its highs and lows.

In 2018, No.10’s regular season performance helped Chicago earn a playoff berth. His 24 touchdowns and 3,223 yards passing earned him a Pro-Bowl vote – showing his sign of promise. His blunders taint his potential but Trubisky was a solid addition to the depth chart.

Pulling the trigger on Josh Allen’s backup was only the beginning of the plan. Pittsburgh used its first-round pick in the 2022 draft on Kenny Pickett – a hometown QB anxious to succeed. Two recently acquired quarterbacks after the retirement of a legend only leads to one thing – a quarterback battle.

Steelers have skill in other areas to help their young quarterbacks develop

While Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky work to become the starter, leaders on the team are working to maintain the standard of excellence.

Stars from defensive positions understand the expectation. T.J Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick plan to add to their success from last season. Myles Jack and Devin Bush are ready to re-establish the tradition of Steelers linebackers.

Offensively, the Steelers have enough to maintain the course of the regular season if they are developing both of their new arrivals in camp. In 2021, the Steelers finished at the bottom of the league in offensive yards per game.

Running the ball will be the main priority for Matt Canada and the offense. Najee Harris’ outlook on his sophomore season has analysts ranking him in the top ten of his position. Last season, his 1,200 yards rushing last season finished 4th among running backs – leaving room for improvement in 2022.

When the Steelers decide to pass, their receiving core should be there to make a play. Help from the outside is there for whoever takes center. Diontae Johnson’s new contract has shown that the Steelers trust his abilities. Finishing in the top 10 in receptions and yards last season speaks for Johnson’s dependability.

On the opposite side, Chase Claypool has shown signs of developing and looks hungry for more of a role on the offense. George Pickens and Calvin Austin III should also serve as a helping hand for either Trubisky or Pickens.

Trust in the Pittsburgh organization is required to understand the potential for the upcoming season – if not the intermediate future. If the Steelers were right about the career projections for their latest draft selections, it would be equivalent to hitting the lottery.

Watching the Steelers develop from a lower tier has shifted the viewpoint analysts have on Mike Tomlin’s team – but have the Steelers ever failed to answer the call?