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The story of 2023 will drive the Steelers 2024 offseason

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 offseason is rolling on. The first agenda which needs to be complete, and will be extremely important moving forward, is filling out their coaching staff. With the Steelers already dealing with some departures with the potential of more, there are multiple positions that need to be filled with the offensive coordinator job likely being first and foremost.

After filling out the coaching staff, the Steelers will be dealing with the Senior Bowl, the NFL combine, and pro days in anticipation of the 2024 NFL Draft. Before the Steelers make a selection, free agency also looms large in shaping the roster. Before the Steelers make a single free agent signing, they are likely to be making other decisions when it comes to cutting players as well. As one can see, there will be changes to the team as there is every season.

But where will most of these changes fall? Or even better, where should the most changes come?

When it comes to the opinion of Steelers’ Nation, there is a vast variety of things the Steelers need to do to improve their team for 2024. While some believe a complete overhaul at the quarterback position is necessary, others have different opinions of varying degrees. Others look at the offensive line being key while some fans look at issues on the defense. None of these answers are wrong, but how does one figure out what is the most important?

Ultimately, the biggest changes needed for 2024 comes down how one perceived the Steelers 2023 season.

On the most recent episode of The Scho Bro Show podcast, Big Bro Scho and I discussed the various narratives fans used to describe the Steelers 2023 season. In other words, what was the focus on what the Steelers did right and what the Steelers did wrong? How one chose to spin these things as to what stood out the most about the story of 2023 greatly shapes what they feel is needed for 2024.

I thought I would offer a few examples. But rather than just throw out some words and sentences, I thought it would be much more fun to give a poetic spin to it. So here are various 2023 Steeler haiku. Let’s start with this one:

Perfect preseason
Must put more points on the board
Rudolph saves the day

Or perhaps Steelers fans look at the season more this way:

Winning the close games
Fire Canada comes true
Lose to two bad teams

While these haiku are nice and fun, it probably takes a little bit more to sum up the 2023 season for the Steelers. But in looking at the individual lines, you can see there are various things that could be focused upon.

Yes, the Steelers first team offense have a perfect preseason. But does that ultimately matter?

The Steelers did win an overwhelming majority of their close game.

Fans got what they wanted and the Steelers fired that Canada mid-season.

The Steelers had two bad losses in December, only five days apart.

The Steelers need to put more points on the board.

All of these things are true. Where one puts the focus determines what’s important moving forward. Did Rudolph save the day? If so, the Steelers should do their best to keep him in Pittsburgh.

Additionally, there are things within the season that can be spun one way or the other. The prime example is quarterback Kenny Pickett. While there are some that will always back the former Pitt Panther, there are others that, although crying that the Steelers did the exact same thing to Mason Rudolph, want to write him off too early. While the truth is very likely in the middle, it is easy to spin Kenny Pickett‘s 2023 season one way or the other.

For example, it’s easy to say Kenny Pickett was 7–2 in games in which he both started and finished. Winning the game is ultimately the goal and Kenny Pickett finds a way to win. He had 3 game-winning drives/fourth-quarter comebacks. And in the very small sample size after Matt Canada was fired, Pickett‘s passing yards improved greatly.

But for those Steelers fans who wish to spin things the other way, they simply need to bring up only 6 touchdown passes in 12 games.

So what is the point of all this? The point is writing the final narrative on the Steelers 2023 season is what will ultimately drive what needs to happen in 2024. Where things get tricky is which narrative is chosen. When it comes to the fans, these narratives are all over the place. But ultimately they don’t matter. It is only the Steelers perception of their 2023 season which will drive what they do this offseason.

So for the fans who wants certain positions overhauled, either for coaches or players, don’t expect sweeping changes if it’s not part of the Steelers perceived 2023 narrative. And when seeing the changes that the Steelers make throughout this offseason, what gets addressed and what does not will likely tell you more of the story of how the Steelers perceived their 2023.

Fans can spin their narrative of the Steelers 2023 season any way they want. There is nothing that says their conclusions are wrong. But if they don’t match the conclusions the Steelers drew from last season, don’t expect there to be sweeping changes in those areas.

For one more parting shot, I thought I would leave you with one last Steelers haiku which is one many fans would use to sum up this past season. What is sad is they would likely use this from a number of seasons recently at are simply hoping not to repeat it in 2024:

A winning record
Just squeezed into the playoffs
One and done again

(For those who wish, leave your best 2023 Steelers haiku in the comments below.)

 

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