5 Ways to Fix the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers
0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Ways to Fix it
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most decorated franchises in NFL history. However, this season, the Steelers have performed poorly and are 0-3 heading into Sunday’s game in London against the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings.
The Steelers lost some key players in the offseason including wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker James Harrison. They were expected to perform worse than last season, but no one could have predicted a 0-3 start to the season.
Things have gone terribly wrong for the Steelers. Their running game has been an utter disgrace, as they rank 30th in the NFL.
Their running back situation has been so bad with Le’Veon Bell injured that they re-signed Jonathan Dwyer, who they released in the offseason and traded for Dallas Cowboys’ running back Felix Jones.
The Steelers are known for having dominant defenses, but that has not been the case this season. They have given up 25.3 points per game, ranked 25th and 115.3 rushing yards per game, ranked 22nd.
Their defense has also forced a shocking zero turnovers, thus far.
Despite all the disappointments for the Steelers this season, including losing All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey for the remainder of the season, there is a great sign of optimism. Bell is expected to make his season debut on Sunday against the Vikings.
Bell is 6-foot-1 and weighs 244 pounds. He is a huge upgrade over the running back committee in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have five things they must fix to make people forget about their disappointing start.
No. 5 Get Heath Miller More Involved
Tight end Heath Miller has been one of the most reliable players in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense since 2005. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has used Miller as a security blanket for years.
On Sunday, his first game back from suffering a knee injury in December, Miller caught three passes on four targets, for 35 yards. It is a good first game back from injury for Miller, but he needs to be more involved.
With the running game being non-productive, Miller could help the offense gain valuable yards. Roethlisberger needs to try to find Miller more in the upcoming weeks on slant routes and in the red zone because Miller could help the Steelers win games.
No. 4 More Pressure on Opposing Quarterbacks
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense really needs to increase their pressure on the quarterback after performing poorly the first three games. They have sacked opposing quarterbacks a mere three times and have forced zero turnovers.
The key to winning games is for defenses to make the opposing quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket. This is true because it typically leads to fumbles, sacks and interceptions.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau needs to come up with some new blitzing schemes, so the opposing quarterback will feel uncomfortable in the pocket.
The Steelers still have linebacker Lamar Woodley and he could be the key to the defense forcing more turnovers.
No. 3 Better Job Protecting Big Ben
Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has gotten off to a disappointing start, but it is not all his fault.
A big reason why that is case is the poor play of the offensive line. All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a season ending injury in the beginning of the season, which has resulted in the offensive line playing terribly.
Opposing defenses have sacked Roethlisberger 11 times and hit him 17 times. This has contributed to him throwing only four touchdowns.
He also has thrown four interceptions and fumbled four times, resulting in two lost fumbles.
Offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. needs to do a better job of coming up with a new blocking scheme to protect Roethlisberger from sustaining another injury.
No. 2 Stop the Run
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has surprisingly looked terrible against the run this season. They have given up 115.3 rushing yards per game, ranks 22nd, which has mightily contributed to their 0-3 start.
This has led to the defense having to endure long drive by the opposing offenses. On Sunday, Chicago Bears' running back Matt Forte had 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.
These long drives are also making tougher for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense to score enough points to win on a weekly basis.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau needs to alter his blitzing scheme, so the defensive front-seven can prevent the opposing offensive line from opening up running lanes.
No. 1 Hope Le’Veon Bell Stays Healthy
It appeared that Bell would be the Steelers answer to the poor running back play from last season. Unfortunately for the Steelers, Bell sustained a right-foot injury during a preseason game.
He has missed three games and he is expected to return on Sunday to face the Minnesota Vikings.
Bell is a big running back who is a downhill runner on video. He will be a savior to the Steelers terrible running game, if he can stay healthy.