For a passing game to work well, a couple elements need to occur. The offensive line has to protect. The quarterback has to make the right reads. And the receivers have to be on the same page, running the correct route and getting open. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is a work in progress but for his part, George Pickens believes he and the rest of the receiver room is holding up their end of the bargain.
Pickens spoke to reporters Tuesday about the struggling pass game, as shared by The Trib’s Chris Adamski.
“I feel like they’re getting to the right spots as well,” Pickens said of the receiver room. “They’re getting correct depth. It’s not just me. I feel literally everybody on the team [is doing their job].”
The strength of the Steelers’ offense lies in its skill position players, the receivers, backs, and tight ends. Pittsburgh has a solid receiver room with a “big three” of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pickens, three guys capable of making a freaky play at a moment’s notice. But they’ve been stuck either not getting the ball or making short catches underneath. Through two weeks, Johnson is averaging just 8.6 yards per catch, Claypool. 5.5, while Pickens has just two receptions through his first two games. For receivers who always want the ball, it has to be a frustrating feeling.
For Pickens, he says getting the timing down with Trubisky is the key.
“We probably haven’t had enough time to get on the same page…time is everything.”
Pickens worked with Trubisky and the first-team unit throughout training camp, wowing with one great catch after another. But he’s been largely ignored in this offense the first two weeks, seeing only six targets, one of which was a Hail Mary at the end of the first half in Sunday’s loss. A jump ball machine this summer, the Steelers have yet to give him a chance to go up and win a 50/50 ball, instead throwing a couple of comebacks his way and most of the time, ignoring him entirely. Pickens is still the #3 receiver in a struggling passing offense so his limited numbers aren’t that much of a surprise. But if Pittsburgh wants to get back on track, letting playmakers make plays is a smart way to go about it.