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Saunders: Don’t Expect Steelers to Make Big Changes on Offense

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PITTSBURGH — Through two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense has been uninspiring to say the least, but don’t expect big changes this week as the Steelers move forward to face the Cleveland Browns.

For one, the Steelers have just one day of practice on Tuesday before traveling to Cleveland. But beyond that, head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t seem interested in big changes.

“I don’t know if significant changes is what’s required,” Tomlin said when asked about the challenges of switching things up on one day of practice.

The Steelers have scored 36 points through nearly nine quarters of football, so they’re certainly not setting any records. They’ve also given their team a chance to win both of the games, and perhaps that’s all that Tomlin is looking for right now.

When asked about the play of starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, he nearly gushed about his leadership and the way he’s run the offense. The Steelers have turned the ball over just once, something that Tomlin highlighted as a strength of Trubisky’s, but one would assume that being 28th in the NFL in passer rating, 23rd in completion percentage and 26th in average net yards per attempt would not be good enough to earn this type of praise:

“I’ve liked a lot from (Trubisky’s play), to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said. “I think he’s done a good job of doing the things that come with the position, the intangible things, the leadership things, the communication things, detailing and communicating the offense, working hard to execute our agenda, the things that we want to work on. 

Finally, Tomlin acknowledged the obvious, that his offense hasn’t been good enough, but even then, did not put that blame on the quarterback alone.

“We haven’t scored enough points here the last couple weeks,” he said. “But that’s a collective. Not just the quarterback position. Not just the players. It’s all of us that are responsible for ringing up the scoreboard.”

When asked if he was happy about the play-calling of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, Tomlin was only slightly less effusive in his praise.

“I’m not happy with much of anything when we just lost a game, but I’m also experienced enough to see the big picture and that we are very much still in development,” he said. “So, I’m going exercise appropriate patience and continue to teach and ask the guys to continue to learn in an effort to continue to push the train down the track and get better.”

If you need a translation from the coach-speak, I’ll provide one: Don’t expect much to be different for the Steelers offense when they come out onto the field at FirstEnergy Stadium. Certainly don’t expect to see Kenny Pickett. The Steelers aren’t changing the quarterback, and they don’t even seem all that interested in changing the game plan. Asked if Trubisky could be more aggressive, Tomlin said only that “he could and we could.”

Some of that is probably just keeping things close to the vest for a rivalry game, but Tomlin also seems to be content with trying to win one-possession games with his defense. His team practices situational football relentlessly, and his record in one-score games over the past few years is outstanding.

The Steelers lost one of those on Sunday, and they’ll probably never regular compete with some of the more high-powered NFL offenses with a scheme like that, but they can probably win a good number of football games doing that, and it seems like that’s the plan for now.

“When you lose and you don’t have enough points and you don’t produce enough splash, I think that all of that is subject to debate,” Tomlin said, at least giving some Creedence to the criticism of his offense. “But that’s not a debate that we want to take part in. We’re just going to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.” 

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Don S
Don S
September 19, 2022 10:01 pm

Anyone looking for someone to play a football coach in a movie? Mike Tomlin’s your guy. He has the voice and has memorized all the lines perfectly.

Joe Scott
September 19, 2022 10:21 pm

Trabisky is not throwing well, releases the ball too slowly, cannot run well, and fails to follow his blockers (few).

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