Steelers wide receiver George Pickens has consistently expressed frustrations on the sideline throughout the entire season. It makes sense, as Pickens has proven to be a dangerous weapon when the team uses him in any way. Pittsburgh’s leading receiver has not had a touchdown reception since the team’s loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 29th. He has not eclipsed 100 yards since the team went to Los Angeles and beat the Rams out of the bye week.
This time, the frustrations boiled over on the sideline in their loss to the New England Patriots. On Monday, head coach Mike Tomlin admitted it was an issue.
“It’s a problem because it’s not solution-oriented,” Tomlin said. “We’re all frustrated, but we have to manage our frustration in a professional and mature way and when it’s not done that way, it’s not necessarily pushing us towards solutions.”
However, some people around the Steelers have dealt with frustrations before, including former receiver Antonio Brown. Although an unlikely source for this advice, Brown offered Pickens some advice on how to deal with frustration. He had his method of dealing with that frustration when the offense could not get him going.
“It starts in practice. You can’t come to the game and just be emotional about the ball. It starts in the meeting room, going and talking to Coach Tomlin,” Brown said according to SteeIer Nation. “Coach Tomlin will take you to the offensive coordinator. They used to make a little box for me, because I was one of those guys that needed the ball, and I love those guys who want the ball because they want to be great. But you’ve got to control that frustration because you don’t want the quarterback to get stressed out by you and not want to put you in the position you want to be in.”
Brown says he would have picked out plays they would use to get him into a groove and get involved in the offense. More importantly, he suggests that George Pickens go to guys like Kenny Pickett, Tomlin, and others to discuss how they can get him involved.
Brown believes that Pickens, doing what he is now, is just making everything more stressful for the quarterback and offensive players around him. Instead, he suggests going about his business and talking to those guys in a calmer, more professional manner to see what they can do about his lack of targets and production.
“You gotta play smarter, you gotta be willing to learn different positions and you gotta be quarterback-friendly,” Brown said. “I advise GP to go talk to Pickett, go talk to Tomlin, go talk to the offensive coordinator. And get you a play box so when stuff breaks down, or the game is not going well, you can still be involved to do what you desire to do and that’s help the team win. It all starts with leadership, communication, and being on the same page with the people around you. You’re only as good as the people around you.”
Over the last six games, George Pickens is averaging just five targets per game. 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. The receivers are not the main issue in the offense, not even close. But he has to find a better way to channel that energy.