Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Steelers vs. Buccaneers, Preseason Week 1: Keys to victory

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their first exhibition game of the 2023 preseason, and it is a road trip to play Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. While winning these games doesn’t truly matter in the grand scheme of the 2023 Steelers, how the team plays on both sides of the ball does matter.

Here are some keys to “victory” for the Steelers in this first preseason game Friday night down in Tampa Bay. Let’s start with the offense..


Protect the football

I hate turnovers. Always have, always will. I don’t care who it is, or where they find themselves on the depth chart. Protect the football.

Run the rock

Nothing would make me happier than to see the Steelers offensive line, and running attack, impose their will on the Buccaneers all night. If Kenny Pickett left the game with a stat line of 3/3 for 35 yards and a 3rd down conversion, I’d be happier than a pig in…well…you know what. If the Steelers want to run it, and Tampa Bay knows they want to run it, and they still do? That’s a dream for Week 1 of the preseason.

Win in key moments

We’d all love to see the Steelers put up a lot of points, but to me I want to see them win in key moments. 3rd down conversions, converting in short yardage situations, and also in the red-zone. If they show progress in those areas, it would be a great step in the right direction.


Stop the run

Is there anything more demoralizing than a team running the ball down your proverbial throat? Just read the above paragraph about the offense running the rock, then imagine that happening to the Steelers’ defense. We’ve seen it before, and I don’t want to see it again…even if it’s just the preseason.

Pressure the QB

Sacking the quarterback is always great, but I want to see the Steelers putting pressure on the opposition. QB Hits, hurries, and sacks are going to be vital to the Steelers’ defensive success in 2023. Let is start now, and it should start with players like Quincy Roche and Nick Herbig, who will likely log a lot of snaps in Tampa.

3rd Down success

Get off the field. Pretty simple. If we, the fans, want to see who is doing well in the punt return game, we need to see the defense get off the field and force punts. Let’s hope Gunner O. and CA3 get plenty of opportunities tonight.

This was a talking point on my “Let’s Ride” podcast Friday, check it out in the player below this article and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they get ready for their first live action of 2023.

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