Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson said the quiet part out loud — his team could be in a rebuilding year.
In replacing Mitch Trubisky with Kenny Pickett, Mike Tomlin admitted (perhaps privately), that the long-term goals of the organization were more important than the short-term success of his team. There’s nothing wrong with that — it’s honorable, in fact, and speaks to his job security.
Pickett gave the Steelers a spark, which is exactly what Tomlin was going for. The Pitt product scored twice on the ground, but also threw three interceptions, in an eventual loss to the Jets. Given the tough schedule ahead, it could be a rough season in the Steel City.
“Obviously, it’s a rebuilding year,” Diontae Johnson said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We can’t use that as an excuse. It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback or any position. It’s our job to get it done and win games. That’s what we have to do — win.”
Steelers in a rebuilding year, per Diontae Johnson
Trubisky was the ultimate game manager in a system built exactly for that. Yet, when the Steelers defense began to fall apart via injuries to the likes of T.J. Watt, Matt Canada had to open up the offense.
Pickett is far more suited to that, and at 1-3, Tomlin sees the flaws in his ways. The ceiling for the Steelers with Trubisky was never all that high. It’s a tough situation for him, and his Pittsburgh teammates acknowledged that.
“It’s tough on him,” Johnson said. “He has a lot of stuff he has to think about, certain stuff he’s probably thinking about, I’m sure everybody else is thinking about, as well.”
Replacing quarterbacks midseason is tough on everyone. Next up, the Bills.
A rebuilding year is exactly what Pittsburgh needs to see what they have in Pickett, for better or worse. It was time.