There’s no question that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense needs to play better.
The Steelers enter play in Week 15 27th in the NFL in scoring offense, 27th in yards and 25th in yards per play.
But they also unquestionably need to play more together.
From Diontae Johnson failing to pursue a fumble to George Pickens’ repeated sideline outbursts to Najee Harris’ strange comments on his fellow teammates, it’s clear that not all is copacetic among the team’s offensive players, particularly the skill position players.
People unaccustomed to losing are understandably frustrated by the way the Steelers’ season has gone off the rails, and a lot of the job of holding things together — in addition to rising the level of play — will fall to Mitch Trubisky.
The same Mitch Trubisky that reportedly got into a locker room skirmish with Diontae Johnson right before he was benched last season.
So how is the new leader of the Pittsburgh offense going to be able to pull things together, while he himself has admitted that he needs to play better than the did on Thursday night?
“Just talk,” Trubisky said on Wednesday. “Having those conversations about what I am seeing versus what they are seeing. What I’m feeling versus what they’re feeling and getting on the same page. At the end of the day, we want the same thing, we want to win ball games and we want to help the team win. So, we’re having those conversations, today was a productive day, we just have to continue to put our heads down and work and finish this week strong.”
In many ways, that professional development is exactly what the Steelers need. As much as they have failed to execute in Xs and Os fashion, and as much as the offensive scheme has held back the talent inside of it, many of these young Steelers offensive players have not yet let learned what it means to be a professional week-in, week-out, winning or losing.
“I’m excited about this group meeting the challenge that is an NFL season, man,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “It’s thick this week. We’re in a big game. It’s big for both squads. Both squads have absorbed some negativity, if you will. Our ability to manage that and remain focused in prep and in play will ultimately determine our positioning. I’m excited about getting singularly focused and working our tails off this week in an effort to pursue it.”
The Steelers have won games. They’re 7-6, so they’ve won more than they’ve lost. But so far, that winning has not resulted in the necessary collective character growth of the team.
Perhaps this will be a unit that responds to adversity better than it does success.