Considering how the Pittsburgh Steelers offense functioned on Sunday, it’s no surprise the home crowd repeatedly called for backup Kenny Pickett to replace starter Mitch Trubisky during the team’s 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots.
Steelers fans first chanted “KEN-NY” in the third quarter — in the wake of a failed third down conversion where Trubisky found rookie running back Jaylen Warren for no gain on third-and-eight. Chris Boswell converted the 52-yard field goal attempt, bringing the Steelers to within four points at 10-6.
The “KEN-NY” chants boiled up several times after that, so it’s no surprise that Trubisky was asked about them at the tail end of his post-game press conference.
Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky on Kenny Pickett Chants
“It is what it is. You just continue to block it out and play football,” he said, in the wake of completing 21 of 33 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and one interception, an average of just 5.1 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 73.8. The Steelers didn’t get much going on the ground either, collectively rushing 22 times for 91 yards — an average of 4.1 yards per carry.
Prior to commenting on the crowd calling for Pickett, Trubisky spoke extensively about what transpired during the game and seemed to make a call of his own — for patience.
“As we go, we’re just continuing to find (our) identity. We’re still young, we’re still meshing as a unit,” he said, while acknowledging that “we had enough opportunities out there we just didn’t make the plays.”
Indeed Pittsburgh’s offense has scored just two touchdowns in eight-plus quarters of football thus far this season, and the defense played well enough to beat the Patriots.
That and the fact that rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett performed admirably during the preseason means that there doesn’t figure to be much patience on the part of fans, unless the team’s offense starts looking much better beginning in four days, when the Steelers visit Cleveland for an AFC North showdown against the Browns. Particularly since many NFL observers — including Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw — have already gone on record saying Pickett should have been the starter from the get-go.
Mitch Trubisky Tells Teammates: ‘Focus on Your Job’
Meanwhile, Trubisky’s teammates are also starting to get frustrated with the team’s offense. In fact, that’s a word that running back Najee Harris used during his post-game media availability. Steelers offensive lineman James Daniels used the word, too, likening the loss to the Patriots to many of the defeats he suffered with Trubisky in Chicago.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that Trubisky addressed the issue while speaking with the media, saying:
“You just gotta tell guys to buy in — to buy in, be patient and focus on your job. That’s what you’ve got to do as a leader, just keep guys on track and if everybody just does their job, we’ll be a lot better as an offense.”
Of course, a lot of problems will be solved if the offense starts scoring a few more touchdowns.
“Bottom line (is) we gotta score more points,” concluded Trubisky. “But (today) just felt like missed opportunities, by myself and the offense. And there’s a lot we can get better at. We gotta look at that and flush it real quick because we’ve got another game on Thursday.”