The Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling in many ways heading into a Week 4 matchup with the New York Jets and a 1-2 record; however, head coach Mike Tomlin has been stressing the improvement of the team.
Obviously, the improvement hasn’t equated in more wins, but on Tuesday during his weekly press conference, Tomlin talked about the promise his team is showing.
“There are a lot of things that we need to do better.” Tomlin said. “There are a lot of things that we’d like to do better. I think the best way to sum up my evaluation of it, whether it’s the collective unit or components of the unit, is that we’ve been better with every outing and so it’s reasonable to expect those improvements to continue.
“We haven’t done enough to win the last two football games, so there’s reason for alarm as it pertains to that, but largely I’m seeing improvements in all areas, whether it’s individuals or whether it’s the collective. It’s our job to tune out the noise and to remain committed to the path that we’re on and work to get better in an effort to change the outcome of these games. I expect our guys not to blink and to continue to work, so I have to display that as a leader, and I intend to.”
When speaking about specific positions, and in particular the improvement of said positions, none garners more attention from the fan base than quarterback. Mitch Trubisky’s play was better in the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football, but he has yet to do enough to silence the criticism and the calls for Kenny Pickett.
Regardless of what many fans/media are suggesting, Tomlin is pleased with what he’s seen from Trubisky in the first three games of the regular season.
“In all areas.” Tomlin said when asked about where he’s seen the most improvement in Trubisky’s game. “In decision making, where he’s going with the ball, the time in which he’s making decisions, the prudent use of mobility, whether it’s by schematics or by adlib, but just generally in all areas.”
When the Steelers host the Jets on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium, it is only natural to hear fans chanting and clamoring for Pickett to enter the game. It would take a Herculean effort from Trubisky just to quiet the chants. It’s almost inevitable. But you do have to wonder if the passion for change shown by the fans could be viewed as a negative within the organization.
Not to Tomlin. He appreciates the passion of the fans, no matter what.
“Our fans are not an issue, man. We love our fans and the enthusiasm that they bring. We’re not going to make that a negative. They care. And that’s an awesome thing.”
When it comes to the fan base caring, Tomlin is spot on. The fans care to the extent they are willing to voice their displeasure with the direction of the team in every possible way. At the games, on social media and any other way they can suggest what the team could possibly do better to improve.
But the improvement Tomlin speaks of, while present, has to be enough to change the outcome of games. Has the offensive line improved? Absolutely, but does it matter if they lose? Has the secondary been a bright spot on occasion? No doubt about it, but what does it mean if they can’t win football games.
Improvement is important, but at this juncture in the season, and with a 1-2 record, it will be imperative the results accompany the improvement. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Jets this Sunday for a 1pm ET kickoff.