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George Pickens Drops Bombshell on Frustrations with Steelers Offense



Steelers WR George Pickens
Steelers WR George Pickens against the Green Bay Packers, Nov. 12, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — George Pickens is frustrated, with good reason. He has not scored a touchdown since October against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the leading receiver for the Steelers is averaging just five targets per game over the last six games. Some of those targets count screens and other short passes. But that might be precisely why Pickens is not producing.

Pickens has struggled to continue putting up big stat lines. But running curls and hitches is not necessarily conducive to what he wants to do as a player. He views the scheme, in that manner, as a significant hindrance to what he does on the field. That is where a big portion of his frustration stems from overall.

“It ain’t really fun losing,” Pickens said. “I don’t really know what reaction you guys would expect. If you lose at a video game. If you lose at anything you participate in, you are going to be mad. That’s the biggest component of it.”

But George Pickens, like any wide receiver, wants the ball and targets mainly because he sees it as a boost to the team. He is not wrong, either. When Pickens is cooking, the Steelers generally end up working as a team at a much higher level than they have otherwise.

Steelers WR George Pickens

Steelers WR George Pickens warms up before their game against the New England Patriots, Dec. 7, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“I’m still doing what George does to get open and catch the ball and score. That’s all I want to do,” Pickens said.

But when asked if he thought everyone overstepped their boundaries in criticizing him for it. He believes they did, but instead of fighting back against them, he wants them to be because he thinks they are not watching the games to get the full context of the issue.

“I let people talk because that’s their job, to make up stories. You just have to watch the games, they were both losses,” Pickens said.

However, Pickens wants to let it be known that his production is down largely because of the offense. That’s his biggest crux and what he believes is holding the team back. He hopes the two losses are a wake-up call for the rest of the team, but he wants to find a way to produce down the field, not on the short route the Steelers’ offense is often comprised of at its base.

“I don’t know. You guys be at practice, right? I would just say I hope to see things like that. When it’s routes like that, I mean, I can’t really produce that way, running 5-yard routes, 3-yard routes,” Pickens said.

The frustrations are noticeable and valid. But it got to the point this week that Mike Tomlin even admitted that it was a problem because Pickens is not offering up general solutions to fix the issue at hand. If his response is anything to go by, Pickens has to manage those emotions better to find answers. But he says he is watching the same thing as anyone else throughout the week and seeing all of that stuff, too.

“Me, personally, I just look at the game like any other guy would do,” Pickens said. “After the game, watching film, I see what plays I could’ve gotten the ball on, see if people had pressure, things like that. But me, personally, I can only try to get open. Whatever you guys see or whatever you guys watch on TV, I’m watching it, too.”

Pickens is not even the only frustrated player in the locker room. Diontae Johnson has been blasted for a lack of effort, voiced his frustrations, and has generally done similar things to Pickens.

However, he has to find a way to channel those frustrations into productive conversations. That will ultimately get him the football rather than the fruitless methods he employs right now. But more importantly, the team has to scheme up better ways to get him the ball.