Mike Tomlin: Teams will try to stop Diontae Johnson, other guys making plays opens things up

NFL: NOV 20 Bengals at Steelers
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Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson admitted to frustration with his production after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the wideout’s comments during his Tuesday press conference.

Johnson is averaging 5.1 catches for 45.6 yards per game and has yet to score a touchdown this season after averaging nearly seven catches and just over 72 yards per game last season. He also caught eight touchdown in 2021, but there are some obvious differences from that team.

Ben Roethlisberger is no longer the quarterback and the Chase Claypool trade was the latest move to drop the amount of experience in the receiving corps. Tomlin cited Johnson’s status as the leader of that group as a factor in how this year is playing out.

“Let’s be frank,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Diontae is the known commodity within the group. People are going to have an agenda to minimize his impact on the game, particularly in significant moments: possession downs, red-zone football. When you’ve got a guy who has been a Pro Bowler — and, really, he’s the only one — and there is a young group, that is a component of it. How do you open up opportunities for a guy like that? Other guys make plays.”

Rookie wideout George Pickens had four catches for 83 yards and a score last Sunday and more production like that would likely help Johnson find a little more space to operate in the coming weeks.

9 responses to “Mike Tomlin: Teams will try to stop Diontae Johnson, other guys making plays opens things up

  1. I would think if defenses were game-planning for Diontae Johnson it would open up opportunities for other receivers. Doesn’t Tomlin game plan based on the other team’s game plan? It seems like he is making excuses for his anemic offense.

  2. Diontae would be a top 5 WR in the league with a QB. He’s so so good, but hamstrung by the mess in Pittsburgh

  3. He is clearly being held on so many plays. It’s hard to make a play when the officials are not paying attention to it. Tomlin needs to get an explanation from the league, it’s becoming ridiculous.

  4. Or the coaching staff can scheme him open. Or the rookie QB can identify him in 1×1 situations and attempt to get him the ball. Or the rookie QB can not airmail it above his head when he is open.

  5. Mediocre Mike again making excuses for his players. Steelers should’ve never given Johnson the big $. He’s turning into the Steelers 3rd option after Pickens & Freirmuth, and he will continue to whine about it.

  6. Never realized there were so many ex NFL coaches experienced in evaluating receivers posting on this site …good to know.LOL

    Surprised at their whining tone though.

  7. I’m pretty sure opposing teams aren’t focused on Dionte Johnson. They are focused on memorizing the 8 different offensive plays we run each game.

  8. Tomlin isn’t wrong. Young receivers still working on getting better, an o-line not fit to wear NfL jerseys, an offensive coordinator that doesn’t coordinate and who’s offense is atrocious. Pickett gets blamed, but look at the situation. He’s being asked to make a dumpster fire offense look good. No pass protection…no run blocking…bad play-calling. It’s a mess and will be so until Canada is canned and the o-line is improved. Welcome back to the 80’s Steeler fans!

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