In his weekly Tuesday press conference, Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, did not shy away from addressing the elephant in the room—his team’s underperforming offense. Instead of waiting for questions, Tomlin dove right into the topic, highlighting the disappointing state of the offense and addressing the crowd’s chant calling for offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s firing during the Steelers’ recent win over the Browns.
The Steelers’ offense has failed to live up to the preseason expectations through two games, ranking dismally in key NFL statistics. They sit at 26th in scoring, last in first downs accumulated, 31st in rushing, and 29th in both third-down and red-zone efficiency. Tomlin minced no words in acknowledging the stark contrast between their preseason promise and recent performances.
Tomlin’s first order of business was recognizing the need to rediscover the team’s lost “mojo.” He pointed out that the Steelers had played with vigor during the preseason but had, to put it bluntly, lost their way in recent weeks.
One critical aspect Tomlin identified for improvement is their ability to anticipate their opponents’ game plans better. He noted that the Browns had executed a run-heavy strategy that caught the Steelers off guard, resulting in a dismal 55 rushing yards on 21 carries. Tomlin also acknowledged that their offensive line had struggled at times against the Browns’ formidable defensive front.
However, Tomlin made it clear that the offense’s struggles weren’t isolated to one aspect of their game. He laid out a laundry list of areas that needed improvement, emphasizing that while changes were necessary, they wouldn’t resort to drastic measures.
— David Todd (@DavidMTodd) September 19, 2023
Tomlin firmly stated, “We’re not going to have knee-jerk reactions in terms of trying to make wholesale changes in an effort to change that outcome, but we do acknowledge that two is a pattern.” He stressed the importance of teamwork, coaching improvement, increased speed, fluidity, and precision in execution, and a better start to their games.
Tomlin fielded questions about specific players on the offense, including running back Jaylen Warren, receiver George Pickens, and quarterback Kenny Pickett. He expressed optimism about Warren’s future role in the offense, despite a missed blocking assignment that led to a sack of Pickett. Pickens’ standout performance was attributed to Diontae Johnson’s absence and a deliberate effort to involve him more in the game plan.
Mike Tomlin kept it simple after starting the season 1-1 👀 pic.twitter.com/iKCfrE0oYR
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 19, 2023
Addressing Pickett’s shaky start to the season, Tomlin conveyed confidence in the young quarterback’s procedural approach and urged him to maintain effective communication and leadership within the team. He noted that Pickett’s improved rapport with Pickens was a positive sign.
The discussion then shifted to the embattled offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, who faced chants for his termination during the Browns game. Canada, in his third year as Pittsburgh’s OC, has overseen an offense that has struggled to score 20 points in 23 of his 37 games in charge. Tomlin acknowledged the passion of the fans and their right to express their opinions, but he made it clear that he and the team embrace challenges, as it is their job to win and entertain their loyal fan base.
Tomlin concluded by emphasizing his commitment to the team’s process, stating, “I’m a part of the process, and when you’re part of the process, it’s less troublesome to you.” Despite the challenges, Tomlin remains steadfast in his pursuit of getting the Steelers’ offense back on track and performing at the level they expect.
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