Pittsburgh Steelers players appear to be openly criticising the play calling of the team’s offense after their recent loss to the New England Patriots.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that look to have all the pieces together of a team that can be a real force in the NFL for some time to come. Their defence speaks for itself, having led the league in sacks for 5 consecutive years thanks to the likes of T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward, and showed what a force they can be in their win over the Cincinnati Bengals by forcing 5 turnovers.
Meanwhile on offense they have the likes of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Najee Harris who have shown a lot of promise in their short time in the league, whilst rookie wide receiver George Pickens showed glimpses in preseason that makes you think that he can be a playmaker in the future.
The one thing that is holding them back though is their offensive line, ranked amongst one of the worst in the league by some outlets.
But a bad line doesn’t necessarily mean a disaster if you can gameplan around it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for instance have had to deal with injuries to their men but have managed to start out 2-0, you just need to have a gameplan that makes up for your shortcomings.
For the Steelers though, that plan doesn’t seem all that inspiring.
Steelers stuck in slow motion
As per Pro Football Reference, the Steelers rank 3rd bottom when it comes to both yards per game with just 255 and yards per play at 4.3, indicating a lack of explosive plays in their arsenal despite having a number of players that can make the plays happen.
Compare that with the teams at the top, the Buffalo Bills for instance are averaging 7.1 yards per play, and it’s clear to see that the offense is being too safe, perhaps as a result of the limitations of the offensive line meaning that they have to rely on short, quick passing plays so as to allow quarterback Mitch Trubisky to get out of trouble quickly.
But after the loss to the New England Patriots this weekend, it looks as if the players are starting to have enough with how things are.
In quotes gathered by The Athletic, a number of Steelers players have spoken about their frustration at how the offense is running so far this season under offensive coordinator Matt Canada:
“Call concepts to get receivers there.” — Mitch Trubisky
“We have to call the right plays to get down the field in the right ways.” — Chase Claypool
“We can only do what they tell us to do and execute it.” — Diontae Johnson
The Steelers don’t have long until their next game, this Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, so there might not be a lot of time for them to work out everything, but if they don’t make changes soon and get better, you have to wonder if changes might be larger than just a few tweaks.