3 Hidden Traps That Could Derail Steelers Season

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster | Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers did a fantastic job to finish 8-8 last season after star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was declared done for the year with an elbow injury following Week 2. The fact that they almost qualified for the playoffs is ridiculous and really helped Mike Tomlin reassert himself as one of the elite head coaches in the NFL.

As a result, expectations for the Steelers will be lofty in 2020, and we wouldn't be surprised if they struggle to live up to that billing. While there's no denying the talent Pittsburgh flaunts on both sides of the ball, these three concealed headaches could prove disastrous to their Super Bowl aspirations.

3. James Conner's Health

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner | Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Simply put, Pittsburgh is a better team when James Conner is on the field. Therein lies the problem. He's not exactly reliable in terms of his availability. The Pro Bowl running back has yet to play a full season in his three-year career and 2019 was perhaps his most concerning campaign to date as he missed six contests. Conner has been working out like a mad man this offseason, but Steelers fans will only know if his durability has improved once the season starts. If his injury woes continue, Pittsburgh's offense will suffer the consequences.

2. JuJu Smith-Schuster's Contract Dispute

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster | Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

JuJu Smith-Schuster is entering a contract year, and many NFL insiders believe that this will be his last season in the Steel City. There was also buzz about the Steelers shopping the Pro Bowl talent earlier in the offseason. The Steelers can't afford to have arguably their top offensive weapon check out mentally. JuJu has to be all-in from the opening whistle.

1. Ben Roethlisberger's Health

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger | Justin Berl/Getty Images

As evidenced by the pitiful showings of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges in 2019, the success of the Steelers will ride on the shoulders and health of Roethlisberger, who missed 14 games after undergoing elbow surgery early on in the season. If the six-time Pro Bowler can remain upright for the entire campaign, Pittsburgh will be a dark horse candidate to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Should he be shelved again, however, the team will struggled to post a record better than .500.