The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-6, and the most glaring weakness on the team has been the offense, by far. When you consider the overall stats for the unit, they are in the bottom quarter of the league in every major offensive category. This doesn’t lead to much hope for the future.
When you throw in the fact the Steelers traded one of their offensive weapons, third year wide receiver Chase Claypool, to the Chicago Bears for a 2nd Round draft pick, most fans saw all hope as completely lost.
Wednesday quarterback Kenny Pickett met with media and was asked just how things could change for the offense with Claypool no longer in the picture.
“I think some guys have to step up, right?” Pickett said. “It’s a next-man-up. Obviously, Chase is a great, really talented player. We’ll miss him and we had a great time together, but we need guys to step up to fill that void. I’m really confident in all the guys doing it as a collective.”
Next-man-up is something Steelers fans have heard a lot of in the Mike Tomlin era, but anytime it is stated the next question which arises is who will be stepping up? Will it be someone like George Pickens? Steven Sims? Or maybe even Pat Freiermuth?
“Yeah, we just have to adjust that with how we do certain things.” said Pickett. “But I think the ball gets spread around. I think those guys, like I said, will step up as a receiver room to fill that void. I’m excited to see guys get opportunities and see what they do with them.”
When you lose a player like Claypool via trade, it is natural for players to wonder what is going on. To have a sense of surrender on the season. It is up to Pickett as the leader to have some hard conversations with his offense and make sure they know what this truly is, an opportunity.
“Everyone kind of understands the deal and what guys need to do. Guys need to do their job; it was laid out, how we plan to attack. So, I think we’re all on the same page. Like I said, it all sounds great, but we’ve got to go execute on Sunday.”
When you consider the fact Pickett had very little time with players like Freiermuth, Diontae Johnson and Pickens throughout training camp, the preseason and even the start of the regular season, Pickett is doing whatever he can to help get everyone on the same page. This would include doing extra work on the side during team practices.
“Yeah, it’s huge, because, like I mentioned before, not having the summer obviously hurts with timing and reps.” Pickett said of the extra work being put in. “So, being able to get free time when the defense is out there working off to the side on whatever extra routes we need, timing purposes, those guys are great. They give full effort, and I can get timing. It’s been going pretty well so far.
Many fans will want to know, who started this extra work?
“As a group.” Pickett said, not taking credit for the work being put in. “Just something that we all feel like we need just because of the lost time that we had to make up for.”
Ultimately, success is what this offense needs. Whether it’s points scored, or an improved running and passing attacks. Just some form of success. The offense is broken, and needs fixed.
The flip side to fixing the issues plaguing the Steelers’ offense would be trying to do too much. The offense is extremely young, and very inexperienced, so it is a fine line which needs to be walked.
“Like I mentioned before, you can’t press.” Pickett added when talking about walking the line of trying to fix things and doing too much. “As a player, as coaches, all of us, we’ve just got to trust that everyone’s doing their job.
“We’re going to go out there and execute and improve the little detail things that we want to improve on and kind of take it one step at a time. But it all starts on Sunday. The things that we’re putting in and everything we’re working on, we’ve got to execute at a high level on Sunday.”
Pickett is right, it all starts on Sunday. A win over the Saints in Week 10 will at least get the team’s second half started on the right path. Lose the game, plunging their record to 2-7, would make for a dreadful start of the second half of the 2022 regular season.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the New Orleans Saints this Sunday in Week 10.