Monday, September 26, 2022

Steelers rookie WR George Pickens says he was open ’90 percent of the time’ vs. Patriots

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
USATSI

We are through two weeks of the 2022 NFL regular season, and it’s quickly become clear the Pittsburgh Steelers have a problem on offense. The Steelers’ average of 255 yards per game ranks third-worst in the NFL, and a chorus of boos and chants of “Kenny” rang through Acrisure Stadium last Sunday, as the Steelers fell to the New England Patriots, 17-14.

QB1 Mitch Trubisky threw for 168 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss. The winner of the Steelers quarterback battle hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a game yet, and while he’s not the only issue on offense, he plays the most important position in the game of football, and the Steelers spent a first-round pick on quarterback Kenny Pickett this offseason. A change may be coming soon.

To make matters worse, the Steelers wideouts feel like they are getting open. Promising rookie receiver George Pickens estimated this week he was open “90% of the time” against the Patriots. 

“I just say that because I’m a big guy that runs in the low 4.4s,” Pickens said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I always have a step on somebody and my step is naturally longer than the other person, and I’m actually fast. I’m always (going to) have a step and always feel like 99% of the time I’m open even though the ball gets there in the air and (the defender) gets time to catch back up. … But I’m open as soon as I get off the line.”

Pickens played 85% of offensive snaps Sunday, but caught just one of three targets for 23 yards. Diontae Johnson is the only Steelers wideout who has found relative success thus far, as he’s caught 13 passes for 112 yards in two games played. The next leading wideout is Chase Claypool, who has caught eight passes for just 44 yards.

Pickens said he feels like his teammates are getting open as well, and getting to the “right spots.” The rookie wideout did not blame his quarterback for the struggles on offense, but chalked up the early-season issues to timing.

Pickens may have a point. Trubisky is working in a new system with new wideouts, and Pickens himself is new to the NFL. However, it remains to be seen how patient Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will be with his quarterback situation. 

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