It’s nearly impossible to type positive words about the Pittsburgh Steelers after whatever that performance was against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s only fair to say that Mike Tomlin’s squad was outplayed, outcoached, and outclassed by the only remaining undefeated team in the league.
The offense, beyond some timely trickery near the goal line, wasn’t able to put points on the board. On the other side of the ball, the defense wasn’t able to stop the #1 receiving threat as AJ Brown had himself a three-touchdown game.
And the cherry on top of a disastrous game? NINE penalties for sixty yards.
Sure, I could throw in the fact that the Steelers were 1-of-12 on third down or that they lost the turnover battle, too. But instead, we’ll sum it up in a handful of words:
Steelers’ football was terrible on Sunday.
But let’s look at a positive now. While starting quarterback Kenny Pickett still has a lot to prove on the field, he was able to prove he won’t shy away from a leadership role off of it.
After the game, the first-round rookie had some strong words lined up for his teammates.
“Guys don’t know what they’re doing, we need to study more,” said Pickett after Pittsburgh’s sixth loss of the year. “I don’t think we study enough as a group.”
“There are way too many penalties and stuff like that. Which we know we can control, it’s all mental. There’s really no excuse for that.”
For Pickett to be willing to make that comment publicly shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a strong statement to make that could be frowned upon by teammates and even coaches. But charged with the leadership of the team, calling his teammates out goes to show he can be the leader the Steelers want him to be.
When asked a follow-up question on what he meant by needing to study more, Pickett didn’t hesitate to add:
“Playbook. We need to know what we’re doing. Not getting in the right spot. Having some procedural penalties, and personnel in and out of the huddle. All things we can control. There are no talent issues.”
“Something has to change, right? We’ve been having these problems all year,” said Pickett. “We need to look each other in the eyes and get it turned around.”
To be clear, when Pickett says that, he means the players.
“Coaches can get say whatever they want, everyone else in the media and fans can say what they want. At the end of the day, it’s down to us.”
Some will confuse accountability with “locker room trouble” after the quarterback’s comments. But make no mistake about it, this is what you want to hear from the Steelers’ rookie and new leader.
Clearly, at 2-6 and thinking about the future, this team needs it.
Featured image via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports