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Tom’s Ten Takes: Steelers vs Jets

Following each game in the 2022 Steelers season I will be giving you my 10 takes. These aren’t going to be hot takes and meant to shock the world. This will be instant reactions to the game written while still in that period just following the game when the emotions are high and the ideas are fresh. Included will be thoughts, observations, queries and reasons that caused me to yell at the television.

Game 4 – New York Jets

1. Booing is Silly – It’s not for me and not something I would do. That being said this team deserved every avalanche of boos that tumbled upon them in the first half. The offense was atrocious again. Seven drives in the first half included four drives with penalties by four different linemen, a one play “drive” that was an interception, three sacks taken by the quarterback and two three and out drives. It was darn near unwatchable.

2. Loyalty Can Only Go So Far – When it comes to a coach being loyal to those in the organization Mike Tomlin is at the top of the list. See Jaylen Samuels. If I’m being honest, I didn’t think he would make the change at quarterback but it had to be done. Without the spark of energy the team and stadium received from Kenny Pickett just entering the game there was likely no chance of the excitement level increasing. The problem is Pickett is still running the same listless offense. Will he continue making changes? I know they don’t fire or reassign coordinators as a regular practice but there’s a first time for everything.

3. Summer is Over, Close the Pool – I have seen enough. A player having potential is only useful if they want to be better than their current form. Chase Claypool just doesn’t seem to get it. It’s rare to see someone with such size play so small. There were maturity issues. There was the inability to stay on his feet. Now he can’t make contested catches against players seven inches smaller than him. He couldn’t improve as an outside receiver. He’s not producing as a slot. I’m ready to give someone else a shot.

4. 97, 98, 99 < 100 – For the first time this season and just the fifth time in the last 22 games the defense held the opponent under 100 yard rushing. This was feeling like it would be a more favorable point to address had it been a win but I’ll take the small positive. A big part of it was because of Cam Heyward, DeMarvin Leal and Larry Ogunjobi. They all did a nice job getting a push into the backfield to disrupt the running scheme.

5. Return Descender – A punt returner who makes poor decisions and can’t hold on to the ball should not be the punt returner. The first punt Gunner Olszewski faced was a 59 yard punt that he should have caught. He was five yards behind where the ball landed. How far did he think he we was going to kick it? He has shown indecisiveness in making the catch and has now fumbled for the second time. I am here to make a push for Steven Sims to not only punt return but compete with Claypool for the slot.

6. Working As One – Another positive is the growth of the offensive line in the run game. They are getting push on the defenders allowing some running room which has helped a little bit. Those old school sweeps to the right showed some promise as well. Versus Cleveland the running backs had 19 carries for 86 yards (4.53 yards per carry). This week they had 19 for 92 (4.84). We vilified their play early in the season but they are starting to become a cohesive group. A good running game will take some pressure off the rookie quarterback.

7. Share With Everyone – Another part of the sadness of this offense is the dispersal of the targets. Whether it’s by design or ineptitude there seems to be a focus on the few over the many. Against Cincinnati, Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth combine for 22 of 37 targets. Vs Cleveland, Johnson and Pickens had 18 of 32. This game it was Pickens and Freiermuth with 17 of 25 targets. They have good skill players and they aren’t using them all consistently. Hopefully Pickett will be able to move the ball around more.

8. Pressley’s Pressure – The year started off with promise for Pressley Harvin. He went though some person trauma in his rookie year and the hope was he would find his form in year two. However, he remains to be incredibly inconsistent with his punts with the worst ones coming at the worst times. I don’t know what the numbers are but when he punts from inside his own 20 he seems to struggle the most. I would guess he is well below average in distance in this scenario. Maybe the health issue that was bothering him during the week continued but it’s time to give him some competition for the job.

9. Tips Are Accepted – The tip drill is something that has been practiced for decades to help players react to deflection in the passing game. I don’t think I can remember a game in which four separate interceptions were the result of the ball bouncing off of someone else. It has happened quite a bit in other games today as well. It’s a fluky NFL thing that happens in groups. You’ll see a week each year where there are several safeties in the games or several defensive touchdowns. Today it was all about the tip.

10. Help Them Settle – The final drive the defense again could not make a stop late in the game. This one seemed more unfortunate as it looked like the Jets were willing to settle for a field goal try. The Jets picked on Arthur Maulet all game and frankly he isn’t who you want covering guys like Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson. The tackling was a little suspect late and losing star players and timeouts didn’t help. There is a lot of season left and a lot can change but that change happen soon enough.

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