WR George Pickens Sounds Off on Steelers’ Play Calling: ‘I Can’t Really Produce’ - Sport News

WR George Pickens Sounds Off on Steelers’ Play Calling: ‘I Can’t Really Produce’

The Pittsburgh Steelers moved on from offensive coordinator Matt Canada after losing in Week 11. But that hasn’t resulted in superior offensive play calling for the Steelers. Wide receiver George Pickens put the team’s play calling on blast while speaking to the media on December 14.

George Pickens

“You guys be at practice, right? I would just say I hope to see things like that,” Pickens told reporters, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko. “When it’s routes like that, I mean, I can’t really produce that way, running 5-yard routes, 3-yard routes.”

That answer from Pickens was referring to the shallow route tree the Steelers asked him to run in Week 15 against the New England Patriots.

Pickens’ average depth of target was 5.3 yards, which was the lowest of his young NFL career.

“Why is George Pickens being so toxic?!” Chris Burgh posted as a caption on X (formerly Twitter) to a picture of the receiver’s Week 14 route tree.

Pickens finished Week 14 with 5 catches but only had 19 yards. He averaged just 3.2 yards per target, which somehow is not his lowest of the season.

In Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans, Pickens recorded negative-0.2 yards per target.

George Pickens Stresses Wanting to Win

In Pickens’ defense, Batko wrote that the 22-year-old receiver indicated first in his media session on December 14 that he wants to win. As far as his individual performance, he wants to accomplish things that help the Steelers outscore opponents.

“I’m just running my routes to get open,” Pickens told reporters, via Batko. “I don’t really [worry about] personnel or who’s at quarterback or the situation. I’m still doing what George does: Get open and catch the ball and score. That’s all I wanna do.”

But as the questions continued, his frustration leaked when discussing the type of routes he’s been running.

As a rookie last year, he averaged 15.4 yards per catch. He’s above that average this season with 49 receptions and 767 receiving yards. That’s good enough for a 15.7 yards per reception average.

But Pickens has eclipsed the 58-yard mark just once in the past seven games. During that stretch, he’s averaging 12.1 yards per catch.

Opponents have held Pickens under 25 yards three times since Week 8.

To turn their season around, the Steelers will very likely have to take more deep shots with their passing attack. Pickens is so talented, he should get multiple opportunities to make a big play down field per game.

That’s true even with backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky behind center.

Pickens Addresses Frustrated Body Language

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on December 11 that Pickens displaying his frustrations on the field and sidelines during games is “a problem because it’s not solution-oriented.”

Pickens conveyed that he doesn’t intend his body language to be a distraction to the team. He also said his frustrated body language is based on the team’s performance, not his own.

“It ain’t really fun losing. I don’t even know what reaction that you guys would expect for somebody to lose,” Pickens said, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko. “If you lose in a video game, I’m pretty sure somebody gets mad. If you lose in anything you participate in, I’m pretty sure you get mad. That’s really the biggest component of it. For me and Coach T, it’s the same relationship we’ve been having.

“We lost two games back-to-back to 2-10 teams, I think. I think that’s what actually happened, so, yeah.”

While Pickens’ on-the-field frustrations aren’t “solution-oriented,” according to Tomlin, maybe the receiver’s public criticism of the team’s play calling will be.


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