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Steelers Identify One Key Area George Pickens Can Improve: ‘Communicate’



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

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have to figure out how to get George Pickens the football. But maybe it is about Pickens doing more to help himself, too. That seems to be the open hint that Mitch Trubisky gave on Tuesday. Pickens is a player who shows his frustration on the sideline often, but Mike Tomlin called it out on Monday as a problem because there were no solutions discussed in that.

“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, what might make it even more troublesome is that Pickens has to learn the rhythms of how Trubisky likes to work. The timing is not there; they regularly get reps together, so the group has to work through some of the growing pains again. Without a true system of communication between the two, it is hard to see them being on the same page consistently.

“Get him the football. Have open communication about what he’s seeing versus what I’m seeing and just continuing to work on that timing,” Trubisky said.

Steelers WR George Pickens

Steelers WR George Pickens at practice on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

For the first time since Tomlin’s comments, offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner talked about what they could do to open up the game for George Pickens. For one, there is no sense to go away from him. The team wants to get him the football. Pickens might be their best playmaker in the passing game, and he is undoubtedly the one guy who can create explosive plays with ease consistently. But something is preventing that from happening, and some of it might be coming from Pickens.

“We definitely need to (get him the ball),” Faulkner said. “That’s always something we’re always thinking about, scheming up, and trying to get done. And then we have to throw the ball to him. We’re never going to tire on getting GP the ball. We know what type of talent he is.”

Steelers WR George Pickens

Steelers WR George Pickens against the New England Patriots, Dec. 7, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

But the lack of open communication could be between Pickens and Trubisky. Faulkner acknowledged that is something that has to happen. They don’t fault Pickens for being a competitor and wanting to make plays. But the more significant issues remain that it is hard to get Pickens the football on specific plays when he does not tell anyone else what he sees from his perspective. They can not read his mind. He is often open in a play but not the main progression, which is a separate issue, but if they see particular looks, they can alert him earlier in the progression.

“We have to communicate with him, talking,” Faulkner said. “We have to see where his head is at. It’s all about communicating.”

Faulkner says that Pickens is receptive to that. Now, it is about turning those conversations into productive conversations that lead to solutions to get him the football. It could help quell the frustrations that Pickens carries and help the offense open up the passing game.