Matt Canada wants to see the ball in the hands of George Pickens more often. The rookie receiver has made it known through his frustrations in Atlanta that if he can, he wants to see the ball in his more after being only targeted twice and catching one ball for two yards.
It comes a day after Pickens declared that his frustrations it was a non-issue, saying “it’s not me, it’s y’all” in his press conference on Wednesday. His quarterback, Kenny Pickett, and fellow receiver Diontae Johnson downplayed those concerns after the game on Sunday as well.
However, Canada sees the reasons behind the frustrations. The only thing that Pickens needs to work on is finding a more mature way to display and relay his frustrations about not getting the football. Mike Tomlin echoed a similar sentiment on Tuesday when he said he ‘laughs at’ the controversy around the blowups.
“George wants the ball and I want George to have the ball,” Canada said. “So does everybody else. Sometimes the ball doesn’t find you. He will continue to learn and grow on how to talk about that and do those things. But the fact that George wants the ball, there’s nothing wrong with that. We just have to express it in the right way and work at it. We’ll all keep working to do that, because he’s a really, really good player. I have no issue with him wanting the ball.”
Pittsburgh has a talented offensive skill group with a stable of running backs that continue to run at a high level, Diontae Johnson, and Pat Freiermuth. For Pickett, there are a lot of mouths to feed throughout the gameplan, including other players than those mentioned. Canada does not want to force the ball to anyone, and instead, wants to follow the game script to exploit what defenses are giving Pittsburgh.
“We’ve got Pat [Freiermuth], we’ve got Tae [Diontae Johnson], we’ve got George, and we’ve got some other guys in there, [Zach] Gentry, Steve [Sims], Gunner [Olszweski], [Miles] Boykin,” Canada said. “We’ve got some guys who all probably want to catch some passes and plus the backside of the backfield plus we want to run the ball. I mean, I know it probably looks really, really easy, but to do that all the time and get everybody the ball and have a running game and all those things, it’s all dictated by the game.”
Before it, was Diontae Johnson who was frustrated by some of his lack of targets due to defenses playing toward him. Now, it is Pickens who sees some of the frustration as defenses shift towards taking him away. Pittsburgh, on a two-game win streak, is likely just going to ride the wave, and if Pickens ends up having opportunities to make plays within the way defenses play the Steelers, the target storyline should be a nonissue quickly.