It’s becoming far too common for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A promising drive transpires, and then self-inflicted penalties, like not being able to line up right or knowing how to run a certain play, pop up, stalling drives, keeping the Steelers off the board, and ultimately result in frustrating losses.
Losing stinks. It’s becoming harder and harder for the Steelers to stay positive at the moment. That includes rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who was rather fed up with the mental errors and penalties from the offense Sunday in the 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, dropping the Steelers to 2-6 on the season entering the bye week.
Pickett, who was bruised and battered throughout the game behind the Steelers’ offensive line that struggled to do much of anything against a great Eagles’ front seven, spoke rather matter of fact Sunday after the loss, stating that the mental errors and penalties aren’t giving the Steelers a chance to be successful offensively.
“I mean, listen, like I said, the physical stuff, you don’t do that to a player. He drops the ball, you don’t rip him for that. But the mental stuff needs to get addressed, and that will get addressed,” Pickett stated to reporters Sunday after the loss, according to video via the Steelers official YouTube page. “That has to get addressed. We can’t keep doing that and hurting ourselves and not even give us a chance to be successful. So that needs to be addressed.”
How that gets addressed moving forward remains to be seen. It’s unlikely the Steelers are going to make drastic changes up front along the offensive line in an effort to clean up pre-snap issues. Nor does it feel like the Steelers are going to scrap the RPO or fire Matt Canada any time soon.
There has to be some sort of accountability though, because the penalties are a major problem week after week, with the Steelers beating themselves offensively with the flags. The flags have led to the Steelers falling behind the sticks, making it even harder for an offense that is severely limited to move the football and pick up first downs.
On the day, Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor were called for illegal formation penalties for not being on the line of scrimmage. The Steelers were even called for an illegal formation on the kickoff. That’s coaching.
As Pickett points out, the frustration of not being able to physically make a play is one thing, but the mental errors and penalties that are all self-inflicted and above-the-neck mistakes are becoming far too common for the Steelers, and are really starting to get under the skin of everyone involved, especially the rookie quarterback.
He wasn’t pointing fingers, though, stating to reporters that he has to be better in the end and make sure everyone is on the same page, lined up correctly and knows their assignments, but it’s a mess offensively for the black and gold.
It will be very interesting to see what this offense does in the off week to prepare for the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.