The Pittsburgh Steelers’ plan on offense has been very clear this offseason. They want to be the most physical group in the league and they want to expand on their rushing success from 2023. They finished 13th in the NFL last season with 2,010 rushing yards, but 1,452 of those came from Week 9 and on. That was the game against the Titans in which Broderick Jones was inserted as the full-time starter at right tackle. Their performance over the back half of the schedule was much better than the 13th-best rushing team.

Now they have brought in offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who is known for high-volume rushing attacks, and they drafted two presumed Week 1 starters along the offensive line in Troy Fautanu and Zach Frazier. They also added two quarterbacks who are capable of adding yards on the ground. All signs point to a huge rushing year for the Steelers’ offense.

Harry Douglas is thinking along those same lines with something he said on ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday morning.

“You look at that offensive line, it’s just not gonna be what we’ve seen in the past. And then you throw in the offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. This team offensively is gonna be as physical as we’ve seen them of late,” Douglas said. “The team was 13th in rushing in 2023. Do not be surprised if they’re top five in rushing this year.”

If you look at the top 10 from last season, most of those teams have a mobile quarterback who chips in extra rushing yards on the ground. The Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles were all in the top 10 with mobile quarterbacks. The Steelers now have two of those, which will add an extra dimension to their ground game.

And that is in addition to Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren having a chance to take another step forward next season. Harris is now entering a contract season after the Steelers declined his fifth-year option, so he has plenty of motivation to have a career season to elevate his market value. He is reportedly down some weight and has extra agility entering the season, which bodes well for Smith’s wide-zone run scheme.

The Steelers should also be using extra tight ends, and having a fullback on the field at times will help to have extra blockers near the line of scrimmage. Both Harris and Warren were in the top five for broken tackles in 2023; Harris had 30 and Warren had 27. It would be great if those broken tackles could occur beyond the line of scrimmage and result in extra yards rather than them getting hit behind the line and having to break tackles just to get positive yardage.

As we sit here now in May, it would be a disappointment if the Steelers do not finish top five in rushing for the 2024 season.


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