The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the practice field coming off a “mini bye week” heading into the fourth week of the season. In what showed some hope and promise in the preseason, the offensive unit has been downright horrendous to start the season and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. The Steelers’ offense currently sits in the bottom third of the season in key areas including total yards (31st, 818 yards), passing yards (28th, 548 yards), and rushing yards (23rd, 270 yards). Needless to say, there are several similarities between last year’s offensive unit and this year’s; including the weekly answers to the media.
The Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky fed more of the same remarks as last week in the preparation for Week Four.
Trubisky met with the media before practice on Wednesday after the extended weekend. As he talked, he repeated some key phrases from prior weeks. If we think back to last year, this is eerily similar to Ben Roethlisberger’s infamous, “we just have to play better, I have to play better,” routine. With Trubisky starting the season ranked 22nd in the league in quarterback rankings (44.4), 27th in total yards, and only has two touchdowns to show for it, fans are hungry for a spark. Whether that comes in the way of deep passes down the middle of the field, converting on third downs, or anywhere in between, fans want to see the ball move and points put up on the board. However, Trubisky hinted at more of the same this week:
“We’re gonna continue to be aggressive. It’s just continue to be efficient. When you see our offense move the ball forward and stay ahead of the chains, it opens up the playbook, allows us to be aggressive, mixing the run and keep the defense off balance.”
Just by looking at the numbers we detailed earlier, there has to be an increased amount of urgency in the locker room. We heard rumblings last week of Trubisky ‘playing scared’ in fear of losing his job, but that isn’t going to score points. However, Trubisky isn’t playing into that logic. He knows he has to start pushing the ball into uncomfortable areas of the field and give his weapons the opportunity to make big plays. Head coach Mike Tomlin knows it is now or never in establishing some tempo on offense and is applying some pressure to the group. When asked about the feeling within the locker room and what the temperature is like from the coaching staff, Trubisky explained:
“Let’s go. Let’s pick up on the details, continue to stay motivated, and we’re closer. We’re not where we want to be, but we got to continue to put in the work, continue to be detailed, and just continue to pull together and hopefully we’ll get better results than what we’ve had,” he described.
“On the film, you’ve seen the improvements, we just haven’t been making those big plays or scoring as many points as I think we should have. The plays are there, they’re on film, we just gotta go make them and I think it comes down to execution, being more detailed throughout in practice, and sometimes it’s just reps and sometimes it’s just communication, get on the same page. So, we’re just gonna have a great week and hopefully put it all together.”
From how Trubisky is acting, it looks like he is taking a page out of Tomlin’s metaphorical playbook and is staying patient. Tomlin preaches each year of how long the season is and how much can happen throughout it. Being just four weeks into the season, there is still a long way to go until the playoff race intensifies. But with that said, the Steelers are anticipating tough contests through the month of October, as they enter the most difficult stretch of the schedule. That means the team needs to buckle up and take full advantage of rest days and days off between games. This past weekend provided exactly that for Trubisky and the offensive squad after a tough loss in Cleveland:
“It was a good couple of days to rest, recover and get the body and mind back right,” Trubisky explained. “We talked through a lot of stuff. It really comes down to execution and being more detailed in our work. When the plays are there, which they have been on film, we’ve just got to make the plays. I feel encouraged after going back and talking through it and looking through it. So, we’re motivated to come back, have a great week and put it all together.”
In their opponent this week with the New York Jets, the offense won’t be facing one of the top ranked defenses in the league. The Jets are allowing an average of 231 passing yards per game and over 105 yards on the ground to opposing offenses. In addition, they’ve allowed a total of 81 points so far this season (averaging 27 points per game) which is 27th in the league. If the Steelers’ offense is looking for an opportunity to correct the ship and throw their version of a coming out party, this weekend at Acrisure Stadium is the best chance they’ll get until November.
How patient are you staying with the offense? What do you want to see happen in practice this week? Let us know in the comments below!