Steelers’ nonexistent deep passing game needs to show up #Steelers #nonexistent #deep #passing #game #show Welcome to Americanah Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
Before the 2022 season started, I hypothesized that with quarterback Kenny Pickett, and receivers George Pickens and Calvin Austin acquired in the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have the opportunity to throw the ball deep as they really hadn’t in the last few years of the Ben Roethlisberger era.
In Big Ben’s final season, per Pro Football Focus, he completed 21 of 71 passes of 20 or more air yards for 686 yards, six touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 77.9. It was obvious that the Steelers, led by offensive coordinator Matt Canada, wanted to push the ball downfield, but Roethlisberger just didn’t have the juice to get that done any longer.
Pickett, for all his Kirk Cousins/Matt Hasselbeck pre-draft comparisons, was pretty good with the deep ball at Pitt, and as Cousins was the NFL’s most prolific deep passer in 2021 (believe it or not), that particular comparison does jibe with Pickett’s sneaky-good arm. Austin was an underrated deep outside receiver at Memphis, and Pickens was an obvious downfield force multiplier at Georgia when he was healthy.
Right now, Pickett is on the bench in favor of Trubisky, whose passing chart in last Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Patriots was… instructive.
Austin is on injured reserve with a foot malady he suffered in the preseason opener, and he won’t be available until at least Week 5 of the season. As for Pickens, he’s the Steelers’ highest-targeted deep receiver, but he’s caught just one pass of 20 or more air yards on four targets for 23 yards. Pickens, Diontae Johnson, and tight end Pat Freiermuth each have one deep receptions this season for the Steelers, and that’s the end of it. To put that in perspective, there were four receivers in Week 2 (Tyreek Hill, D.J. Moore, Mike Williams, Courtland Sutton) who had two deep catches on their own.
This needs to change against the Browns on Thursday night, because Cleveland’s defense is ripe for the picking.