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Steelers Stock Report: Whose stock is trending down after the devastating loss to the Browns

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are indeed desperate times for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but an even bigger question remains:

Where do the Steelers go from here?

The Steelers suffered an embarrassing road loss to a Cleveland Browns team that was just as one dimensional as they were. The Browns tried to gift the Steelers another victory with multiple dropped passes, and even a turnover. But this time Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense was too incompetent to capitalize. Then the Steelers ultra conservative defensive coverages on the Browns final possession allowed the Browns rookie QB to easily drive them into field goal range, even though the Steelers defense had shutdown the Browns throughout the second half.

The Steelers have fully committed to a “playing not to lose” style on both sides of the ball this season. No obvious sense of urgency towards player development or sustainable improvements. The Steelers coaching staff appear to believe the same misguided mindset as many of their fanbase: Winning is all that matters. I have been trying to educate and inform those individuals, unsuccessfully I might add, over the past few weeks that thought process is extremely flawed. Steady and sustainable improvement is crucial for any rebuilding franchise. Victories can sometimes be akin to fool’s gold. Exciting to find, but lacking real value.

The 2023 Steelers are not a good football team, regardless of their record. Every conceivable metric suggests that the Steelers are a fortunate team, rather than a competitively talented one. They have the lowest paid coaching staff in the NFL according to various reports, supporting the old adage that you get what you pay for. This is most evident with the coordinators, both of whom may never warrant another similar NFL gig in their careers. Put it this way, no one on the staff, outside of Mike Tomlin, is highly regarded or in high demand.

Second year QB Kenny Pickett isn’t talented enough to overcome the simplistic game plans and sophomoric play calling, and has definitely regressed this season. Pickett’s confidence is lost, and the game appears to be moving too fast for him. He has become a single read QB, playing for a coordinator incapable of designing him open looks. The rest of this season is a proving ground for an unproven signal caller who is promised nothing heading into next season. The Pickett/Canada connection has proven to be an unholy union.

The Steelers defense possesses more questions than answers. That’s not good for the highest paid unit in the NFL. Once again, the Steelers will head into the offseason needing reinforcements on all three levels of the defense. Cameron Heyward is past his prime, and overpaid. That’s going to be a difficult offseason decision. T.J. Watt is easily the best player on the team, but his age and injury tendencies give me pause. Finding your next franchise QB could take awhile, and prove very costly. The Steelers are going to need cap space and capital. They also have numerous one year rentals that they will have to make decisions on, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Lastly, the Steelers are going to need an infusion of speed and athleticism in their defensive backfield. Realistically, the Steelers should attempt to get younger and cheaper on defense in 2024. Rebuilds don’t happen overnight.

So back to my original question. Where do the Steelers go from here, as the season slowly starts to fade away? Start with making educated changes, as you search for answers and improvement. Change nothing, and nothing changes. Strive for sustainable improvement, not hollow victories.

Steelers Stock Trending Up: Jaylen Warren

Warren’s presence on this list is becoming a weekly occurrence. He was the Steelers offense on Sunday against the Browns, and he has easily been the Steelers most dependable and effective offensive weapon this season. His lack of touches in the fourth quarter against the Browns is inexcusable, but more on that to come.

Steelers Stock Trending Up: Elandon Roberts

Roberts was a one man wrecking crew in the middle of the field on Sunday. Easily the most dominant performance by a Steelers inside linebacker in many a moons. Not only did Roberts bring the pain, but his tackles were of the sudden stop variety. All 15 of them. Stunningly strong performance, when the Steelers needed it the most. Sadly, Roberts was totally exhausted on the Browns final drive, maybe because he played 100% of the Steelers defensive snaps in the game. Even though his doppelganger stood unused on the sidelines for the entire game. A healthy Mark Robinson never saw the field on defense. Unacceptable.

Steelers Stock Trending Down: Passing attack

The Steelers passing game is missing in action. The scheme sucks. The play calling sucks. The execution sucks. Basically, the Steelers passing game as a whole sucks. So let’s just keep it simple, stupid. The Steelers aren’t going to change the coordinator in season, that much is obvious. So it’s time to change the QB. Kenny Pickett definitely isn’t getting the job done, and is regressing by the week. Since we already know what Mitch Trubisky looks like in Canada’s offense, I am going to make the only other possible suggestion in this situation: Start Mason Rudolph against the Bengals. I honestly thought I would never type those words in my life, but that’s where we are on offense as a franchise. To figure out what the Steelers have in Matt Canada, they must exhaust every option they have at quarterback. The only QB who hasn’t had a real shot in Canada’s scheme is Rudolph. Look at it this way, it really can’t get much worse, as the Steelers currently struggle to hit 100 total yards through the air. Truth.

Steelers Stock Trending Down: Pressley Harvin III

The King is dead, and has left the auditorium. The Big Press experiment is over. He has turned into a heavier version of my reoccurring nightmare Jordan Berry. The sample size is definitely big enough, and I have seen all I need to see. Harvin will forever be consistently inconsistent. It’s a boom or bust scenario every time he punts the ball, and I am definitely not much of a gambler. Here’s a funny point of discussion: the common denominator between Berry and Harvin’s similarities is Danny Smith. Maybe Smith is getting some of that Bubble Yum juice on their kicking shoes. He must not be standing as close to Chris Boswell.

Steelers Stock Trending Down: Mike Tomlin

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a stagnant mess at the moment, seemingly trapped in the NFL version of Groundhog Day. Honestly, there is no logical way for Tomlin to escape his share of the blame. The buck stops here, maybe more so for Tomlin than any coach in the league. This is Tomlin’s team, created in his image. Tomlin adores the offseason hustle and bustle, especially the pre-draft process. He gets to know each potential prospect on a personal level. Tomlin is universally praised for his personal commitment to this process. However, we are starting to see kinks in the armor. Personnel usage and development are lacking. Both of which are crucial for the development of a rebuilding franchise. Team chemistry and team discipline are also vitally important. The first quality can be extremely difficult to find, and the second requires a firm and consistent approach. However, the most concerning challenge is the stubborn unwillingness for meaningful changes. Any coach is in danger of losing the locker room when the players easily identify the problems that the HC refuses to acknowledge. It’s past time for Tomlin to make the tough decisions and necessary changes. Trust me, rearranging the practice squad isn’t going to cut it this time.


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