When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Steeler Nation will tell you first and foremost what needs to be done to help improve the team, and when it needs to be done. As the black and gold prepare to take on the Cleveland Browns in a vital divisional showdown on Thursday Night Football, there’s a heightened anxiousness throughout the Steel City that the franchise’s struggling offense needs to improve, and needs to improve quick. Whether that’s a quarterback change, an offensive coordinator change, or something of the like, a significant change seems to be the obvious answer. For head coach, Mike Tomlin, however, he’s not as worried quite yet as everyone else seems to be.
Pittsburgh is currently only averaging 4.3 yards per play, having only 166 total yards rushing, and 362 passing yards through two games. They’ve also only scored two offensive touchdowns, all categories they rank in the bottom half of the league in. These are numbers that can drive fans nuts, especially with the talent this young team has on the offensive side of the ball, and especially in a town like Pittsburgh who live and breathe their football team.
So this warrants significant change, right? Not so fast says Tomlin, reported by Steelers.com‘s very own, Bob Labriola:
“When we’re not in the right neighborhood. You know, we’re in the right neighborhood; we might be knocking on the wrong doors. What I mean is, the difference between success and failure are small things,” Tomlin said. “It’s understanding. It’s cohesion. It’s playmaking. When it’s things of that nature, when it’s a small number of tangible things that you can point to, then you proceed, and you continue to grow and develop.”
Tomlin continued. “When it’s multiple things, when it’s popcorn, then that’s a different suggestion or a different story. What I’m seeing to this point are singular, tangible, minute things, and so that just tells you to keep your head down, have a certain collective resolve about your approach to business in spite of outcome, in spite of outside noise or what have you and get better.”
We heard from multiple players after Sunday’s home opening loss to the New England Patriots that this team just needs to better execute. It sounds like Tomlin agrees and the panic is more so coming from outside of the locker room.
When Tomlin was also asked if there was anything specifically defenses were doing to limit rookie wide receiver, George Pickens (who many believe can help open up this offense), Tomlin explained his thoughts with that idea as well:
“If you’re talking about a particular receiver getting attention, Diontae [Johnson] is the guy over the course of the first couple of games who has probably gotten additional attention based on the fact he was a 100-plus catch guy a year ago, and that’s usually how things go in the National Football League. Pickens is gonna have to put some plays on tape to garner that type of attention, and not in preseason football.”
Steelers QB1 Mitch Trubisky Suggests Matt Canada’s Offense Should Absolutely Involve Rookie Playmaker More: “We’ve gotta get George [Pickens] the ball”
One would assume because playmakers like Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris do draw most of the attention from opposing defenses, someone like Pickens might have more one on one opportunities. Quarterback, Mitch Trubisky has expressed this week that he can be better about involving Pickens in the offense. Now, we’ll just have to see if Tomlin and Trubisky making these “small” adjustments, including involving Pickens more, will be enough to boost this offense, and ease the anxiousness throughout Steeler Nation.
What do yinz think? It’s only Week 2. Is Tomlin right that the team doesn’t need to make any significant changes at this moment? Or should he start listening to the outside noise a bit more as this situation is a lot more serious than he’s making it out to be? Make sure to click to comment below!