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2022 South Side Questions: How Many Targets Will George Pickens See After Outburst On Sunday?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: How many targets will wide receiver George Pickens see after venting frustrations?

You’re generally not likely to be the type of person to make it into the NFL as a wide receiver if you’re not somebody who wants to try to get the ball as often as possible. Playmakers want to make plays and wide receivers are paid to be playmakers, so they’re happiest when they have the ball in their hands gaining yards and scoring touchdowns.

Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens was straight up not having a good time this past Sunday in the game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was targeted only twice during the game, catching one two-yard pass. He frequently displayed his frustrations in behavior caught by the broadcast cameras.

Pickens even had an outburst after team captain Cameron Heyward came over and had a talk with him. Evidently whatever he said to the young man was not enough for him to keep his composure throughout the remainder of the game.

Reaction to Pickens’ behavior may prove to be something of a Rorschach test where people interpret what it means through the prism of their own experiences, biases, and expectations. The truth is we don’t know how he responds to this and whether it is for the good or the bad. We do know certainly that he’s not the first wide receiver to be mad about not getting the ball as much as he wants.

His first interview with the media since his outburst didn’t seem to land very well with some people, which is really saying something considering the team’s media department elected not to publish it in any way. They evidently decided that doing so would lead to more harm than good.

Will all of this, however, lead to more targets? A common refrain from the very first game of the season was that they want to get the ball in his hands more. That hasn’t always happened. But that’s how it is, and he’s going to have to learn to live with that.

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