Is the Pittsburgh Steelers rebuild ahead of schedule?
The moment Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement following the 2021 season, it was inevitable the Pittsburgh Steelers were heading head-first into a rebuild. After all, you don’t lose your franchise quarterback of 18 seasons and not have to start from scratch in some way.
Embracing the rebuild, and not calling it something like “re-tooling”, was a part of the process for the Steelers fan base. With that being a hard reality for a lot of fans to stomach, the natural follow-up question was how long would the rebuild take until they became legitimate Super Bowl contenders again.
At the moment Roethlisberger retired, the unknown was so great any prediction for length of time it would take to climb out of the rebuild was nothing more than a stab in the dark. But that didn’t stop me from stabbing away.
When asked how long it would take, I said 2-3 years for the Steelers to be a contender again, the latter portion of that being the key. We aren’t just talking about making the postseason, but being a viable contender for a Super Bowl.
With 2022 being the first year of the rebuild, we learned a lot about the Steelers and their uphill battle back to relevancy.
In-season last year we saw the following take place:
- New QB was crowned
- Solidified offensive line
- Young and developing offensive core
- Plenty of “guts”
While fans learned a lot in-season, Omar Khan’s first offseason as the team’s General Manager (GM) was certainly something of note.
Here’s what we saw take place this offseason:
- New, and key, players added (Free Agency and the NFL Draft)
- Roster depth at almost every position
- No QB questions heading into training camp
With all that has taken place since the rebuild began, many are wondering if the rebuild is on schedule, ahead of schedule, or maybe even behind?
The way the Steelers finished 2022, winning 7 of their last 9 and 4 in a row, showed a lot about the team and their ability to rally. Throw in Khan’s masterful offseason and you’ll see a team who is right on track with the rebuilding process.
Are they ahead of schedule?
I don’t think so. In my opinion, they are right on the schedule I set forth after Roethlisberger’s retirement. This is Year 2 of the rebuild, and you should expect to see exponential growth this season on many fronts.
What can fans expect to see in 2023? Are the playoffs a big step forward? Is winning a playoff game for the first time since 2017 a realistic goal?
There are a lot of questions, and I provide all those answers on my Wednesday “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below, but I’ll say this…barring injury the Steelers very well could make noise in 2023. If that natural progression happens, then the final year of the rebuild will be in 2024, and that final step is when the team has returned to “championship contender” status.
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