With a “popcorn” reference during his Thursday media session, Joe Schobert now feels like a true Pittsburgh Steeler. Schobert used the phrase to describe the need for the defense to eliminate the occasional hiccups that turn into big plays.
“I think we’re playing well,” Schobert told reporters in audio provided by the team. “We just have to execute full 60 minutes better. There’s there’s just a couple of times throughout the game at various spots on the defense, the linebackers in the defensive backs where there’s, as Coach T says, a popcorn mistake. It’s a ‘my bad, popcorn my bad,’ where one guy just has a brain fart on one play. and that allows a big play for the other team. We just have to focus on eliminating those.”
Those mistakes in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears proved costly, erasing multiple 14-point leads with the Bears scoring the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes to play. There were a variety of issues but most notably not getting enough pressure, allowing Justin Fields to break contain, and struggling to play the catch point. The problems, as the “popcorn” implies, aren’t isolated to one player. It’s easy and convenient to think about it as a one-man issue, to blame just Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, or Minkah Fitzpatrick for not making enough splash plays.
Schobert described how to eliminate that “popcorn.”
“Everybody has to stay locked in and focused for the whole 60 minutes. I think just coming to work throughout the week and understanding like we’re going through the same meetings, the same practice that we do every week. You can’t let it get monotonous and repetitive. We’ve got to come and learn and execute it in practice and be able to take it to the game on Sundays.”
Even facing an 0-8 Lions team this weekend, the Steelers have to play detailed football. Detroit may be winless, but they’ve played several close games this season. Four of their losses have been by one score, and two have them came on time-expiring 50+ yard field goals (including Justin Tucker’s NFL record 66-yarder). If Pittsburgh isn’t careful, they could give the Lions their first win of the season Sunday afternoon.