UNITY TWP., Pa — George Pickens is the quintessential deep ball receiver, posting top contested catch rates and explosive play rates right away. But the Steelers’ offense never checked the boxes in order to actually produce those explosive plays on a consistent basis.
So, when the Steelers’ offense took a shot on a go-ball on the first play of the first team period of training camp, it was a statement. Or maybe as George Pickens put it, it was ‘an explosive hint’ for all those who are watching the team’s offense for the first time in a public setting this year.
“I feel like that was an explosive hint,” Pickens said. “It’s really just a change. The same plays are the same plays, but as far where we going with the ball, it’s a huge change. We can be more explosive.”
Back on Wednesday when talking with the media, Mike Tomlin noted that the team had an inclination to be far more explosive than they were a year ago. They were one of the worst teams in football at producing those kinds of plays. Going forward, that will not be acceptable for a team that has to keep up with the teams in the AFC at an explosive play rate like the Steelers.
“Hey, we want to be explosive,” Tomlin said. “We want to get yards in chunks, and I guess that’s what he’s speaking to, but we also want to possess the ball and control the flow of the game, and so we’ve got to do all things if we want to be a dominant group, and that’s a component of it. We weren’t explosive enough a year ago in terms of chunk plays, and so there’s a focus there.”
The team has not had over 400 yards of offense in a game since 2020 against the Cleveland Browns. That’s something that has to be fixed this year if this team wants to be a more prolific offense.