3 changes the Steelers must make on offense to defeat the Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered an embarrassing defeat last week at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. In particular, Pittsburgh's offense put up a terrible display. This must improve if they are to win on Monday night and have any chance of finding success this season. The 49ers boast one of the leagues elite defenses, and while the Cleveland Browns are good on that side of the ball, they are not at San Francisco's level. 

That being said, Mike Tomlin and his team must make adjustments to play better and come away with a victory at home. Now, here are three key adjustments that the Steelers must make to even their record at 1-1.

3.  Play calling

The play calling for the Steelers under Matt Canada has been incredibly vanilla, disappointing many fans. This is for good reason, too. Canada runs an uninspiring offensive scheme that often consists of little more than running the ball up the middle or taking deep shots down the sideline. He also has a bad habit of running trick plays that get snuffed out and stopped in their tracks for a significant loss.

The Steelers rarely use the middle of the field, and when they do, they can be very effective. This makes it all the more frustrating and maddening to see them avoid the middle of the field for long parts of games. Some of this may be because Canada does not fully trust his young quarterback, Kenny Pickett, and does not want to expose him to making too many mistakes that can lead to interceptions. 

However, when you limit a quarterback by only allowing him to throw in certain areas of the field and everybody, including the opposing defensive coordinators and players, are aware of that, it is not helpful at all. In the end, it can in fact hold these players back.

It is very easy to know what types of plays the Steelers will be running, and this makes it incredibly easy to defend. The team attempts to run trick plays way too often, and this leads to them shooting themselves in the foot and getting behind the chains. This then puts even more pressure on Pickett by forcing him to throw downfield and taking the ground attack out of the game.

2. Establishing the run game

There is no way around it: the Steelers must run the ball more effectively and more frequently if they want to thrive this season. The success the team experienced towards the end of last year came when Najee Harris got healthy, and he became a much more physical and effective runner of the football.

When you have a young quarterback, it is essential to have at minimum a balanced offense, if not a run-heavy attack. This keeps the defense on their toes and allows the quarterback to throw the ball in advantageous situations. Moreover, it reduces the defense’s ability to cover receivers down the field and minimizes the opportunities for the quarterback to make mistakes.

The Steelers are at their best when they are running the ball effectively and controlling the time of possession. Cleveland has a talented offense, and the best way to play defense against such offense is to keep them on the sidelines. If the Steelers can win the time of possession battle, they should have an excellent chance to win this football game.

1. Get George Pickens more involved

Diontae Johnson has been ruled out for this game, which makes it even more important for George Pickens to step up and be an X-factor. Canada and Pickett also have to do their parts by making it a point of emphasis to get the ball to their talented playmaker. Pickens is one of those rare receivers that is always open even when he's covered because of his height, physicality and athleticism.

These traits make Pickens a great option to throw to when things aren't going your way, as he can make good things happen without being in a perfect situation. The Steelers are are not likely to find themselves with many perfect situations, and this makes Pickens' skillset even more valuable. He should get at least 10 targets in Monday’s game, and if he does, the Steelers should have a chance to put up big numbers and come away with a victory.

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