In Order To Start Stacking Wins, Steelers Have To Improve Their Starting Field Position

If the Pittsburgh Steelers intend on stacking wins now after getting their first one of the 2013 season Sunday against the New York Jets, they’re going to have to drastically start improving their starting field position for the offense.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Steelers average starting field position of their 60 offensive possessions so far this season has been their own 24 yard-line and that ranks them next to last place in the league in that category.

To make matters worse, only one of their 60 offensive possessions have begun on the opposition’s side of the field. That good field position was the result of a 40 yard punt return by wide receiver Antonio Brown early on in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

If you were to take away that punt return, Brown has 16 punt return yards so far this year on the seven others he has tried to return. I should also note that Brown has fair caught another 12 punts, a few of which he likely should have tried to return.

Part of the poor starting field position for the Steelers offense, however, is their own fault as points off of turnovers results in kickoffs and that generally results in the offense starting their next possession inside their own 25 yard-line. In fact, the Steelers offense has started 48.3% of their drives this season following kickoffs.

In addition, thanks to the nine turnovers that weren’t returned for touchdowns so far this season, the opposition’s average starting field position has been the Steelers own 44 yard-line.

The defense, however, is not off the hook as they hadn’t forced a turnover all season until Sunday against the Jets. The two that they did force were deep in their own end of the field.

The Steelers offense can’t be expected to drive 75 plus yards for points on every possession, so you can clearly see where the hidden lost yards have been so far through the first five games. The offense didn’t turn the ball over at all Sunday against the Jets and while that certainly is a good start, and conducive to winning games, the Steelers defense and special teams need to start pulling their weight moving forward.

  • steeltown

    It’s pretty evident that being on the right side of the turnover ratio is paramount to winning games.

  • T R

    Get em Dave Tell the Truth.. Its pretty sad if you look at it.. Folks always blaming how bad the offense is or Ben when his back is too the wall.. I am sure if you go back and look at stats alot games we lost Ben threw for more passing yards and our offense gain more yards then the opponent and lost the game.. I know for sure in the Chicago game… And they have got to stop setting for damn field goals after you drove 75 yards… but hey, you telling it.. Getting the Turnover in the damn endzone does not help the offense at all…

  • CrazyTerry

    The 2 turnovers were a start but they did not put the Steelers in any great field position. Now that the drought is over, it’s time the D starts generating an occasional turnover in good field position.

  • joed32

    But it does help keep the opponent off the scoreboard.

  • Eric

    Turnovers differential and number of explosive plays are highly correlated to wins.


    3 and out is key. The Steelers D for the most part has been playing bend but don’t break defense. That doesn’t help field position.

  • HopalongCassidy

    The overall starting position during games would greatly improve if the Steelers didn’t have so many 3 and outs. If they could get a couple of first downs before they punt, they could change the field position. Let’s face it, right now the Steelers offense is ranked 27th in the NFL because they can’t sustain anything, They can’t run block or pass block with any consistency. They have weapons but they have one of the worst o-lines in football. If I were the FO, I would do whatever it takes to fix the o-line even it if meant giving up something on the D to do it.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Notice how everyone wants to start the game by kicking off to the Steelers because the Steelers usually end up going three and out thereby setting up good field position for the opponents.

  • Mike.H

    “elephant in the room”… seems to me 2013 Seelers weren’t mentally ready to play when season started.

    ” We gonna be fine” cavalier attitude thru out camp.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    AB needs to be taken off PR duty. I was all for him being given the job and risking injury, but he fair catches way too many of them. He’s become soft in that regard. Time to get someone in there that wants to make a play.

  • JohnnyV1

    Be nice to have a little explosion out either the KR or PR, or both, but I don’t want to ask for too much!

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I’ve been as hard on these guys as most, but the fact of the matter is that the Steelers have had to rely on too many unproven players due to injuries and roster turnover…and one of them they needed to rely on (Bell) was out. Many of these young guys will get it sooner or later. That said, it does not take the liability away from the coaches for not having them ready in weeks 1-4.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I did an analysis earlier in the year showing there’s an average of 3 yards gained by the offense per punt, factoring in fair catches and touchbacks. I didn’t subtract holding penalties, injury and turnover risk. AB, just keep fair catching most of those punts.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Getting a few first downs before having to punt helps change field position. Going three and out when starting at your own 20 yard line pretty well screws you on the field position flip even if your defense does a good job. It is no coincidence that opponents are deferring after winning the coin toss and making the Steelers receive to start the game. They are expecting the Steelers to go three and out and then give them great field position after the punt and the Steelers are obliging.

  • Rick Tilves

    GET RID of ZOLTAN and bring back BUTLER to Help Field Position. Trade ZOLTAN back to the Buc’s, because he is TERRIBLE ! He has to be the WORST Punter in NFL !