He was a star of training camp and the preseason. Through two regular-season games, receiver George Pickens has largely become an afterthought.
Despite fairly extensive playing time (71 percent of the snaps in Week One and 85 percent in Week Two), Pickens has six targets and two catches, for 26 total yards.
From his perspective, it’s not for lack of success when it comes to finding an opening in the defense. Via Joe Rutter of the Pittburgh Tribune-Review, Pickens said Tuesday that he was open “90 percent of the time” against the Patriots in Week Two.
“I just say that because I’m a big guy that runs in the low 4.4s,” Pickens said. “I always have a step on somebody and my step is naturally longer than the other person, and I’m actually fast. I’m always [going to] have a step and always feel like 99 recent of the time I’m open even though the ball gets there in the air and [the defender] gets time to catch back up. . . . But I’m open as soon as I get off the line.”
“I’d love to get George more involved,” suddenly embattled offensive coordinator Matt Canada said, via Rutter. “Those who have been at practice and at camp know how talented he is.”
The Steelers should indeed be doing more on offense. Beyond the receivers, they have running back Najee Harris. The problem seems to be the offensive line. Or maybe the quarterback. Or maybe Canada.
Regardless, they don’t have much time to get things right. The Steelers play on Thursday night in Cleveland. After that, it’s another home game (and another round of KENNY chants, potentially) against the Jets.
Whatever the Steelers do, they need to get it figured out. The schedule after Week Four didn’t look particularly daunting before the first two games were played. Now, it’s at 2-0 Bills, vs. 2-0 Bucs, at 2-0 Dolphins, and at 2-0 Eagles, with a bye thereafter.
Yes, the Steelers need to find a way to get ready for those games, or they could be on their way to the first losing season under Mike Tomlin.