In our passing yard contest this week, we’ve discussed the Steelers’ passing yard record, the Jesse Davis trade, and the Steelers’ improved defense. But the real question is: Are the Steelers better? The answer to that question is in the defense. The Steelers are improving.
Steelers’ passing yard contest
The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ passing yard contest is an interesting contest, but one that may not be what you expect. There are several different factors that can affect the outcome of the contest, including the quarterback, the opponent, and the score. The Steelers are the favorites in the AFC North, but it is not the only factor.
In the most recent game against the New England Patriots, the Steelers struggled on offense. They managed to score only three points in the first quarter and were down by 10 points at halftime. This is a significant statistic for a team that is so dependent on its defense to win.
Jesse Davis trade
The Pittsburgh Steelers received a solid depth piece in the Jesse Davis trade from the Minnesota Vikings. While the former Vikings tackle isn’t the most athletic player, he has a big frame and strong hands that help him latch on to opponents. Although Davis profiled better as a guard than a tackle in his career, he can line up anywhere on the line and should be an upgrade over Kendrick Green. While Davis won’t fix the Steeler’s offensive line problems, he could provide depth to the young offensive line that is being led by new coach Mike Tomlin.
Davis has been playing in the NFL for five seasons. He spent his first two seasons with the Miami Dolphins and the last three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He started at almost every position on the offensive line but the center. He was able to make the transition to the right tackle position in his last season, but many felt that he was better suited to play guard. The Steelers had already released John Leglue and Joe Haeg on Tuesday.
Chase Claypool’s slot work
Despite the fact that Claypool has struggled to catch the ball in recent seasons, he should continue to be a reliable option as the Steelers’ primary slot receiver. In his past two seasons, he has been targeted 214 times, catching 121 passes. His catching percentage is 80 percent, and his yards after the catch are 6.17. Claypool could be a prime trade chip for a team looking to improve its receiving corps.
The Steelers’ injury history is mixed with the fact that Claypool’s slot work is not limited to one season. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the wide receiver played more in the slot than the outside. In fact, 22.4 percent of his snaps in those two seasons were in the slot. Moreover, Claypool has proven that he has more advantages while playing in the slot.
Pittsburgh Steelers defense has shown signs of improvement over the last few years, but they’ll need to continue to improve. The Steelers’ primary task is to stop the run and make the offense one-dimensional. However, the Steelers defense has struggled with injuries along the defensive line and inconsistent play from its off-ball linebackers. Their linebackers, especially Joe Schobert and Devin Bush, struggled to occupy blockers, and they have struggled to make tackles in the open field.
The Steelers run defense was terrible last year, ranking last in the league. They gave up an average of 5.0 yards per rush. However, they cleaned up more messes than any other team in the NFL, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick finished the year with 71 tackles on runs of 10 yards and more.
The Pittsburgh Steelers depot CB situation is a complicated one. They have lost Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson through free agency, and have had some success at the position, but they need more experience and versatility. In the meantime, they’ve relied on Cam Sutton and Joe Haden, and have traded for Ahkello Witherspoon.
Maulet, 27, has been signed to a one-year deal with the Steelers. Maulet is a 5-foot-10, 195-pound defender who played 379 defensive snaps and 163 special teams snap last season. In those snaps, Maulet had 47 tackles, five TFLs, and a forced fumble.
Maulet has shown a strong offseason. He’s a strong run defender and can make plays near the LOS. He’ll likely compete for a slot position in Pittsburgh’s sub-package defense. Fans should keep an eye on him during training camp and the Steelers’ preseason games.