From size to speed, the Steelers can deploy their offense in a variety of ways.
The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers offensive skill position’s are overflowing with size, skill, and speed. Not only that but almost all of these guys have a combination of all of these things. In turn, Matt Canada will be able to roll a number of offensive skill groups and have mismatches all over the field. But some position groupings will have more of those mismatches than others. Below are the groupings I think the Steelers will find the most success in.
Big: Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris/JuJu Smith-Schuster
The Steelers are simply able to outsize any defense they play. This ‘Big’ personnel grouping features all skill players over 6’1”, with an average height of about 6’5”. Teams just simply cannot defend against the sheer size. With these height advantages, Ben Roesthlisberger simply needs to find the most favorable matchup and throw over a fade/jump ball. A handful of touchdowns will be scored in this manor in 2021 and should be one of the go-to groups whenever the Steelers get down into the RedZone. They got the size, now they just need to use it.
22: Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris, Derek Watt, + any receiver
The Steelers can line up their top tight ends and running backs both in tight formations and motion them out wide. With the flexibility of all four players being able to both block and catch, the team can simply watch to see how the defensive unit wants to matchup against this group and call the play accordingly. If they defense lines up in a more coverage-based grouping, they can keep everyone in and run power runs, or if the defense wants to stop the run the Steelers can motion guys out into an empty set and pick on the worst coverage defenders.
Empty: Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Najee Harris/Ray-Ray McCloud/Eric Ebron/Pat Freiermuth
This one is a little simpler. The Steelers just flat-out have more talent than a lot of teams and can roll out their skill players, in virtually any order, spread out the defense, and just pick on the mismatches. Most teams don’t have five good cover guys on the roster, while the Steelers have a laundry list of offensive receiving talent. Steelers’ fans saw this several times in 2020 where Ben Roethlisberger would spread out the field and just target one receiver over and over because the opposition just couldn’t stop it. With Matt Canada at the helm, I think this philosophy could be expanded even further.
But what do you think? Which offensive player grouping will dominate the NFL in 2021? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.