2022 South Side Questions: How long will Steven Sims see on offense?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side, now in the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train year-round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everyone refers to by its full name.

There are still some outstanding questions that need to be answered, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting formation, in the scheme and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even the questions of who starts and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as mid-season changes are certainly entirely possible, for some positions more than others. We also sense how new coordinator messages — or messages in new contexts — end up playing out.

There is never a shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we will be discussing them here on a daily basis so that the community “talk to each otheras Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: How long will Steven Sims see on offense today?

What we know: Chase Claypool has spent most of his time this season in the slot; Claypool is no longer part of the team; Steven Sims has been spending a lot of time working in the lunge in training this week. Things we don’t know: how badly the Steelers will crush 11 people on one of their best receivers; how many Sims will this third receiver be when they perform it.

Outside of Diontae Johnson and rookie George Pickens, the only other wide receivers the Steelers have as Sims alternatives are Miles Boykin and Gunner Olszewski. The former is primarily a special team member, the latter would otherwise be sitting on the bench after losing his returning position if they weren’t reduced to just five wide receivers.

So it’s pretty likely that Sims will be the third-most receiver when the Steelers do use three receivers. There will be situations where they might use other ones, like using Boykin when they want to shoot in the field.

But there are other packages to explore which they now have a golden opportunity to take advantage of with the mix of their best weapons on offense. Why not use more sets of tight ends, not just with Zach Gentry as number two, but also some packages featuring Connor Heyward?

Here’s a new idea, use Derek Watt in the back more. It’s not like it could hurt the racing game. I would even like to see packages with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren on the court together. Both are capable of doing anything asked of them, including blocking the other if necessary.

Let’s face it, what do they have to lose? They are 2-6. They might as well be creative. There’s no sense in taking a ride-or-die approach with giving Sims 50-60 snaps per match if his performance doesn’t deserve it and you have the ability to expand your versatility and unpredictability.

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