The George Pickens storyline is, unsurprisingly, going a bit off the rails this week following his show of emotion during the 19-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons in which he was seen screaming at teammates and coaches on the sideline, wanting the football thrown to him.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has already downplayed the outburst on the sideline that lead to coaches and team captain Cameron Heyward talking to Pickens, stating that he wants a guy that wants the football.
At this point, it’s largely water under the bridge for the Steelers and a non-story, yet teammates and coaches connote to get asked about it, including second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada Thursday. Canada, who has come under fire throughout his time in Pittsburgh, was rather defensive of Pickens Thursday during his weekly media session with the media, stating that he and Pickens have a great relationship and that he wants Pickens to have the football, according to video via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski.
“George and I got a great relationship. We laugh about a lot of things that I won’t share with y’all,” Canada stated to reporters Thursday, according to video via Adamski on Twitter. “George wants the ball, I want George to have the ball. So does everybody else. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t find you. He will continue to learn and grow on how to talk about that.
“The fact that George wants the ball? There’s nothing wrong with that. He just has to express it in the right way and work at it. We’ll all keep working to do that because he’s a really, really good player. I have no issue with him wanting the ball.”
Nobody in their right mind has an issue with Pickens wanting the football in-game. That’s what great receivers do, and Pickens has the chance to be a great one in a long line of them in the NFL that have worn the black and gold.
The issue with Pickens is that 12 games into his career as a rookie, instances like the one Sunday in Atlanta have occurred far too frequently. He’s a competitor and believes immensely in his talents — as he should. But he’s still a rookie and hasn’t proven anything in the NFL yet, so showing up his quarterback and coaches isn’t a good look.
Moving forward, he has to learn how to express those frustrations better, not letting the lack of targets or the ball coming his way affect his overall play like it did Sunday against the Falcons.
For the most part though, the issue is water under the bridge. The Steelers knew what they were getting when they drafted Pickens No. 52 overall in the draft. Now it’s about channeling that emotion in the right way moving fowl in his career. He’s a special talent and needs more targets, without a doubt. But there are better ways to go about expressing frustrations.