The Pittsburgh Steelers had two main things holding them back over the last two or three seasons—quarterback play and offensive coordinator Matt Canada. It is like the chicken and the egg, difficult to tell which issue came first, but the Steelers don’t have to worry about that as they overhauled both sides of the equation. Canada was fired, Kenny Pickett was shipped off to the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Steelers replaced them with Arthur Smith, Russell Wilson, and Justin Fields.

Yeah, there is some argument surrounding Smith and his abilities as a play caller after a disappointing tenure with the Atlanta Falcons, but his track record as a coordinator—not a head coach—is very positive. And the case for Wilson and Fields being an upgrade over Pickett and Rudolph is not very hard to make, either.

Former longtime ESPN host Trey Wingo joined Bump & Stacy on Seattle Sports’ YouTube channel on Wednesday and was asked who could be his surprise team of the 2024 season, comparing it to the breakout season that the Houston Texans had in 2023.

“I think the Steelers have the potential to be really interesting this year, and that may not be much of a surprise team because [it’s the] Pittsburgh Steelers, but they really struggled at the quarterback position since Ben Roethlisberger retired,” Wingo said. “Now they have Russell Wilson there on a one-year deal,and backing him up is Justin Fields.”

While Pickett had mobility at the quarterback position, it wasn’t to the extent that Wilson or Fields are capable of. That adds an entirely new dimension to the offense and forces teams to respect that element, which opens up more opportunities for the other playmakers.

The Steelers’ rushing attack turned into one of the best units in the league by the end of last season, and that was with the team prioritizing getting Jaylen Warren more involved alongside Najee Harris in the backfield. The offensive line should only be improved, especially if the Steelers draft the way that many expect them to by adding a tackle and center early. That is going to give opposing defenses a lot to think about with two different mobile quarterbacks who also have arm talent to push the ball down the field.

“The AFC North might be the toughest division in football this year,” Wingo said. “But I think the Pittsburgh Steelers, after having just a horrendous offensive output for most of the last two seasons, might really surprise people with how efficient that offense is going to become.”

The Steelers went 10-7 last season despite the “horrendous offensive output,” as Wingo put it, and they didn’t lose many pieces on either side of the ball in free agency other than those they traded away. It is never that simple, and they do have a much more difficult strength of schedule in 2024 than they did in 2023, but it should at least be a much more exciting and balanced product that they put out on the field.


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