PITTSBURGH — After another anemic performance from the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, coach Mike Tomlin is holding off pressing the panic button on that unit and starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky ahead of Thursday night’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
“I’m going to exercise appropriate patience and continue to teach and ask the guys to continue to learn in an effort to continue to push this train down the track and get better,” said Tomlin on Monday when asked whether he was happy with the team’s playcalling. “I think that if anyone is sitting here on Monday in Week 2 of this thing feeling happy, they’re probably wrong or misinformed.”
Trubisky completed 21 of 33 attempts for 168 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots, and for the second week in a row, Trubisky rarely took shots downfield. Through two games, Trubisky is averaging 5.1 yards per attempt, second-worst in the NFL behind only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who played only one game before injuring his thumb.
“Call concepts to get receivers there,” Trubisky said Sunday, explaining how to get more downfield passing in the offense. “When the coverage dictates that, get them the ball within that. … We like our outside matchups. We’ve got really good receivers. We’ve got really good talent across the board. We’d like to attack all areas of the field and get the ball to our playmakers. So, we could do a little bit better at everything, for sure.”
Asked whether Trubisky could be more aggressive in the passing game, Tomlin responded by acknowledging that it fell on more than just one player.
“I think he could,” Tomlin said, “And we could.”
“We haven’t scored enough points here last couple of weeks, but that’s a collective, not just the quarterback position, not just the players,” Tomlin added later. “It’s all of us are responsible for ringing up the scoreboard. We don’t seek comfort. We don’t try to quell the noise, to be quite honest with you. We don’t care about the noise. We’re just working on the things that are within our control to have good days to continue the progression of this group from a developmental standpoint, knowing that the outcome is going to be what we desire.”
Although Tomlin said he didn’t hear chants from the fans at Acrisure Stadium calling for rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett, they happened several times throughout the game as the offense stalled out. Center Mason Cole, though, supported the Steelers’ starting quarterback.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt with Mitch,” Cole said Monday. “We know the kind of player Mitch is. Mitch is a winner; he’s won in this league. He’s won for this offense already. … Everyone in this locker room, everyone in this organization believes in Mitch.”