Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens’ Foolish Outburst

Steelers' Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens' Foolish Outburst

A month ago, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin dismissed George Pickens’ visible frustration on the field as a “non-issue.” While speaking to reporters Monday, Tomlin adjusted his stance.

 

 

“It’s a problem because it’s not solution-oriented,” he said during his weekly news conference. “You know we are all frustrated, but we got to manage our frustrations in a professional, mature way. When it’s not done that way, it’s not necessarily pushing us to solutions.”

Pickens is the team’s leading wideout with 767 receiving yards but his production this season has been limited compared to previous years. The 22-year-old hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since October. He also hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards receiving since a Week 6 contest against the Los Angeles Rams. In the last seven games, he’s recorded more than four receptions in a game one time.

 

 

Steelers' Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens' Foolish Outburst

 

 

His dissatisfaction with the Steelers’ offense took center stage during the team’s 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans last month. The victory saw wide receiver Diontae Johnson score a late touchdown for the lead. While teammates celebrated, Pickens appeared upset while he stayed on the bench.

After the win, Tomlin shot down any mention of Pickens’ disposition, saying “I know it’s a cute story for you guys, but it is a pebble in my shoe, to be quite honest with you.”

 

 

In recent weeks, broadcast cameras have continued to capture the receivers’ emotions during games. After Pickens appeared to express frustration during last Thursday’s loss to the New England Patriots, Tomlin was seen speaking to him on the sidelines.

Steelers' Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens' Foolish Outburst

 

 

“I think it can happen to anyone when things aren’t going well, to be honest with you,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “We care a lot, we put a lot into it and so frustration is a natural human response. But I’m completely comfortable asking these guys to do unnatural things because they’re professional athletes. That’s our job to do the unique things and make them look regular, to make them look ordinary.”

It doesn’t seem like the vibes have been very high in the Steelers locker room. The team is coming off of two consecutive losses. After falling to the Patriots, veteran safety Minkah Fitzpatrick criticized the team.

 

 

“I think we need to have more people who want to work for it, not expect it to be handed to them,” he said.

Fitzpatrick was previously reported to have been involved in a heated exchange with teammate Diontae Johnson after a loss to the Cleveland Browns. Soon after, Johnson was forced to account for his visible lack of effort during a win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Steelers' Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens' Foolish Outburst

Running back Najee Harris has also been candid about his frustration with the offense. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes around that you guys don’t see. I’m at a point where I’m just tired of this s***,” he said in November. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada was fired days later.

The Steelers are slated to face the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, a vital game for the team’s playoff chances.

Starting pass rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith could miss the Week 15 matchup, as both are in concussion protocol. Quarterback Kenny Pickett will not play for the second consecutive week as he recovers from ankle surgery.

Steelers' Mike Tomlin Adjusts Stance on WR George Pickens' Foolish Outburst

Mitchell Trubisky will start once again in Pickett’s absence. The backup quarterback spoke about his plan to gel with Pickens in a Tuesday news conference.

“Get him the football, have open communication about what he’s seeing versus what I’m seeing,” Trubisky told reporters.

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