Steelers’ Mike Tomlin: George Pickens ‘obviously’ has room for improvement after continued lack of effort

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Mike Tomlin quite possibly provided the understatement of the year while addressing George Pickens’ most recent examples of loafing following Pittsburgh’s Week 15 loss to Indianapolis.

Tomlin was specifically asked how he felt Pickens responded against the Colts after Tomlin spoke with him about handling his frustrations better in the week leading up to the game. 

“I thought he was better but still has obviously, room for continued improvement,” Tomlin said. 

A follow-up question was asked about Pickens not finishing a block on a run by Jaylen Warren near the Colts’ end zone. The defender Pickens was supposed to block ended up finishing off the tackle. 

“That’s one of the examples that I’m talking about in terms of still obvious room for improvement,” Tomlin replied. 

Pickens’ lack of hustle on that play was not an isolated incident. The second-year wideout also chose to run away from Julian Blackmon after Blackmon picked off Mitch Trubisky’s pass late in the game. 

Pickens also got out-jumped by Colts safety Nick Cross on an intercepted pass during the first half. But that play wasn’t nearly as egregious as the ones in the above videos. 

Based on his comments, it appears that Tomlin is downplaying Pickens’ ongoing actions. Making mistakes on the field is one thing, but not hustling is another thing. It shouldn’t be tolerated at any level, much less the National Football League. But that’s where Tomlin and Co. currently are in a season that is sinking faster than a bowling ball in a swimming pool. 

Tomlin benched Trubisky for Saturday’s game against the Bengals and alluded to more changes coming. That could include Pickens, who might see his snaps reduced. But unfortunately for Tomlin, the team simply doesn’t have enough talent to give him the ability to bench Pickens altogether. The Steelers are still technically in playoff contention, after all, so Tomlin will continue to have give Pickens playing time in order to prevent the season from falling further into abyss. 

Pickens may receive less work, but don’t expect anything major to happen regarding his or any other Steelers player until what promises to be an active offseason for Pittsburgh. 



Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed wide receiver George Pickens’ lack of effort on the field following the team’s Week 15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Tomlin stated that he thought Pickens showed improvement, but there is still room for continued growth. He specifically mentioned Pickens not finishing a block and running away from a defender after an interception. Despite Pickens’ lack of hustle, Tomlin indicated that the team does not have enough talent to bench him completely. The Steelers are still in playoff contention, so Tomlin will continue to give Pickens playing time. However, changes may be coming in the offseason for the team.

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