Only a few weeks in the past, after a loss to the New England Patriots, George Pickens mentioned he “cannot actually produce” on quick routes. He had 5 receptions for 19 yards in that sport and the roadmap provided by Next Gen Stats wasn’t fairly. Most of his targets had been at or simply past the road of scrimmage and he was not targeted downfield.
Quick ahead to his profession day towards the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks later, the Subsequent Gen Stats chart virtually solely reveals deep targets. He had simply 4 receptions, however exploded for 195 yards and two touchdowns. This look adopted a media firestorm involving Pickens’ lack of effort on a run play and his subsequent clarification for taking that play off, saying he was attempting to keep away from an harm.
Tomlin made it clear final week that Pickens has a ability set that may assist the group win and that the media frenzy was possible amplified by the three straight losses. He went towards the grain of people that thought he would bench Pickens, after which backed that up by ensuring he acquired the ball early on deep routes.
Offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner mentioned the necessity to give Pickens the ball extra, saying it is “one thing we’re at all times fascinated with.” It seems to be just like the Steelers have lastly discovered the recipe for achievement and it is serving to rapidly flip the media narrative again in Pickens’ favor. Nothing helps like a profession day in a must-win competitors.
A part of that turnaround was the choice to begin QB Mason Rudolph over QB Mitch Trubisky, as Rudolph had a powerful bond with Pickens. A lot of Pickens’ yardage was after the catch and ball placement is a giant a part of that taking place, like on this play the place Rudolph Pickens led completely so he did not should interrupt.
A lot of QB Kenny Pickett’s deep completions to Pickens this season have been shoulder throws down the sideline with no probability for yards after the catch. One of many huge selections this week will decide who begins at quarterback in Week 17. Pickett has practiced extensively over the previous week and seems to be on observe to be obtainable for the group’s highway sport towards the Seattle Seahawks. A part of that call should be whether or not Pickett can activate Pickens in addition to Rudolph simply did in his solely begin of the season.