Steelers’ Mike Tomlin realizes offensive problems and boos fans

Brooke PryorESPN staff writerSeptember 19, 2023 at 02:00 PM ET4 minutes to read

Stephen A. Mike Tomlin pleads to get rid of OC Steelers

Stephen A. doesn’t hold back. When discussing Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada, he insists he should be let go.

PITTSBURGH – Less than 13 hours after the win, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admitted that his offense wasn’t at the level it achieved in the preseason.

Through two games, the Steelers offense is averaging 9.5 points per game and 12 first downs in the league. On Monday night, Pittsburgh had just nine first downs and didn’t run a single play in the red zone in a 26-22 win over the Cleveland Browns.

However, Tomlin said the solution was not to make “knee-jerk” reactions to enact “sweeping changes.”

“We have to get our mojo back,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “We have to get that intensity that we had in pre-season where we play fast and smooth with confidence, individually and collectively. We have lost that, to be honest, in the last few weeks.

“…We admit that two is a pattern. We’ve had a couple of trips that were not up to snuff in that regard, so it has caught our attention as we prepare for this next trip.”

The 26 points the Steelers scored without a red zone drive was the most for a team in the past 45 years — and the most in the NFL since the Kansas City Chiefs had 27 points versus the New Orleans Saints in 2016.

The Steelers have managed just one offensive touchdown in each of their first two games, a far cry from the five touchdowns scored on the team’s first five preseason possessions. Pickett has been inconsistent so far this season, completing just 60.5% of his attempts — ahead of only starting quarterbacks Bryce Young, Joe Burrow, Bryce Young, Deshaun Watson, and Zach Wilson.

“He did a lot of things well in preparation,” Tomlin said of Pickett. “He can play better – we can all play better – but procedurally I like what I’m seeing from him. And usually when a guy is in the right place procedurally, performance quickly follows.”

The running game is also stagnant with just 96 total yards receiving an average of 3.1 yards per carry, which ranks 27th in the league. The Steelers have also scored 13 goals this season, which is tied for the most goals in the league.

Since Matt Canada was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021, the Steelers’ offense has faltered and struggled to move the ball consistently. Since that time, every other team in the NFL has had at least three games with 400 total yards of offense; The Steelers had none.

“We’re not putting the blame on anyone. Obviously it starts with coaching,” Tomlin said of the offense’s slow start. “We have to train better. We have to make these players play faster and more smoothly. We have to start faster. We have to play more coordinated, especially in the early stages of matches.”

With the offensive struggles leading up to the 2022 season, frustration among the fanbase came to a head Monday night.

Steelers fans at Actress Stadium grew anxious with every extra kick on Monday night, booing the offense as it walked off the field after fruitless drives.

“That should get us going,” Pat Freiermuth said after the game. “Obviously it’s never fun, but we have to learn from that, and that’s obviously a bigger incentive to keep going. We love the fans here, and obviously they expect good football, so I’ll try to keep that going.” “Having good football and getting them a win.”

By the team’s seventh kick Monday night, a loud chant enveloped the field asking Tomlin to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

When asked about it on Tuesday, Tomlin did not criticize fans for their words.

“I appreciate their passion,” Tomlin said. “I share their passion. We all do it, man. We love our fans, man. They inspire us. They challenge us. It’s a great relationship, man. We don’t run from challenges. We run to challenges.”

“This is a sports entertainment business. Our job is to win and therefore entertain them, so we don’t begrudge them that. We want them to be fat, rude and spoiled. That’s our job.”

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