Hines Ward on Steelers offensive woes: ‘Players win games’

While the name Matt Canada causes some tempers to flare in Pittsburgh, former Steelers legend Hines Ward doesn’t want to make the offensive coordinator a scapegoat. He explained great performances are they key to turning the season around.

“I’ve never been a component of scheme, I always think that players win games,” Ward told The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette on Tuesday. 

The Steelers have the players. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson was a Pro Bowler last season. Running back Najee Harris had a fantastic rookie season in 2021. Rookie wide receiver George Pickens impressed in the preseason and fellow wide receiver Chase Claypool has been a steady contributor through his first two NFL seasons. However, talent doesn’t always create a wide-open offense that picks defenses to pieces. 

The Steelers are averaging 272.7 yards per game, which is well below the league average of 344.4. Through three games, they are second-to-last in total offense. 

The offense isn’t really exciting to watch either. It relies on a series of simple short passes and run plays right up the middle. It’s hard not to wonder what Johnson and Co. could do in a more innovative system. 

Ward may be trying to motivate players, but it’s hard to defend Canada when the offense looks anemic despite a more than serviceable stable of playmakers. Still, the former Super Bowl champion argues that it’s players who ultimately make the difference and decide the outcome. 

“Before I start attacking the scheme of it, I look myself in the mirror,” Ward said. “If I’m out there not catching balls… then you’re just a part of the situation as well.”

Regardless of who’s at fault, the Steelers need some type of jolt before facing the Jets high-powered passing offense this Sunday. It’s No.5 in the NFL.

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