Putting points on the board has not been a problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers in recent seasons. More times than not, it’s been the defensive side of the football that has let the team down in terms of advancing deeper in the playoffs. In 10 seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin, the team has been to the postseason seven times. They won Super Bowl XLIII in 2008 and fell short two years later in the Big Game (XLV) vs. the Green Bay Packers. Still, in their 36-17 loss to the New England Patriots in this past year’s AFC title game, the Pittsburgh offense stalled without running back Le’veon Bell.

He was injured early in the game and the team struggled to out points on the board. But over the last few months, the organization has added some help for team leader and star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Who they added in 2017

Via free agency, general manager Kevin Colbert wasn’t very busy this offseason in terms of adding veteran players. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the more talented teams in the NFL, especially on the offensive side of the football. The team is loaded at the skill positions with young playmakers. And led by center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro, the Steelers have one of the better offensive lines in the league. Still, the club signed wide receiver Justin Hunter (Buffalo Bills) and running back Knile Davis (Kansas City Chiefs).

The former offsets the loss of Markus Wheaton, who signed with the Chicago Bears, while the latter can help in the backfield as the team did not bring back veteran DeAngelo Williams. Fast forward to April’s draft. Colbert used a second-round pick on USC wideout Juju Smith-Schuster and the second of two third-round selections on Pittsburgh Panthers’ running back James Conner.

Potential impact

Including the postseason vs. the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Patriots, Bell totaled 260 touches (226 carries, 34 receptions, good for 1,451 yards from scrimmage (1,192 rushing, 259 receiving) and nine touchdowns in his last nine appearances. But as previously mentioned, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense sputtered without the workhorse runner in Foxborough in January, hence a young and physical runner the likes of Conner.

Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster joins a wideout group featuring Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Hunter and blazer Martavis Bryant. But the latter has served multiple NFL suspensions in his brief career, missing the entire 2016 NFL season. As for the free-agent pickups, Davis could see some early action spelling Bell (who remains unsigned but the recipient of the franchise tag) but he’ll be a bigger factor on kickoff returns. And Hunter is a big-play wideout who fits in nicely with this club. All told, Roethlisberger has some attractive new toys to play with. And the rest of the league figures to have its hands full with this unit.

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