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Kenny Pickett Says Steelers Players Responsible for Penalties: ‘I Don’t Think We Study Enough’



Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett

PHILADELPHIA — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett said the players own the responsibility for the mental mistakes that have plagued the Pittsburgh offense, and it’s up to them, not the coaching staff, to make necessary corrections.

The Steelers had six offensive penalties, two turnovers, and Pickett was sacked six times as the negative plays piled up for the Steelers in their 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Pittsburgh players were flagged for holding, offensive pass interference, delay of game, two illegal formations and an illegal man down field — their NFL-leading fifth of that penalty this season.

“Not detailed,” Pickett said. “Guys need to know what they’re doing. We need to study more. I don’t think we study enough as a group. There’s way too many penalties and stuff like that that we can control. It’s all mental. For stuff like that to happen, there’s really no excuse for that. We have to figure that out.”

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s playbook has been derided by those around the league as overly simplistic. But a simple playbook ought to be easily executed, and the Steelers players are failing at that. For Pickett, that means the onus for these penalties and other mistakes falls on the players, not the coaching staff.

“We don’t know what we’re doing,” he said. “Not getting in the right spot. Having some procedural penalties, personnel in and out of the huddle, all things that we can control. There’s no talent issues. You could go do that. Anyone in here could go do that, as long as they know what they’re doing. We’ve gotta get right there. It starts with me. I’ve got to be more on my stuff, getting these guys right. I’ll take ownership of it. …

“We’ve been having these problems over and over again all year. That has to be fixed. We need to look at each other in the eyes and get it turned around. We’re only going to be able to do it. Coaches can say what they want. Everyone else in the media and the fans can say what they want, but at the end of the day, it’s down to us. We’ve gotta figure it out.”

Not only are the mistakes critical to the Steelers in-game results, as they’ve now started with a 2-6 record heading into their bye, but for an offensive unit full of young players, including five first- or second-year starters, it’s made it hard to measure progress over the course of the season.

“You feel progress and then we have a penalty or something mental that we can control,” Pickett said. Those are the things that frustrate you more than anything. A guy dropping a ball or missing a block or I miss a throw, the physical things, you pat each other on the back and we’ll go get them next time. Those are the things that you can put up with. The stuff that we can’t put up with is the mental, the mental mistakes. That needs to get fixed.”

Pickett doesn’t think the Steelers are far away from having what they need to be a successful offense, but until the mental mistakes are cleared up, it’s going to be really hard to tell.

“Everyone’s saying we’re close,” he said. “When we fix that stuff, I think that’s when we’ll be close.”

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