Diontae Johnson shows signs of frustration with Kenny Pickett

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added some new faces to the team this season, and wide receiver Diontae Johnson is starting to show signs of frustration.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are off to a rough start this season, sitting at 3-6 and tied for dead last with the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North standings. Some new faces have been added to the team since last season, particularly rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, which has been a tough adjustment for wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

Johnson has been with Pittsburgh since 2019, and though he’s being patient with Pickett, he’s starting to show signs of frustration. In a press conference, he discussed Pickett and the lack of opportunity he’s had to make plays.

“I gotta understand the situation I’m in this year. Just gotta work with what I gotta work with,” Johnson said. “The coaches can’t throw the ball to me…I just gotta keep playing and keep getting Kenny better.”

Compared to his stats last season, his disappointment is understandable. However, he also discussed that he just has to work with what he can and continue to be patient as the rookie develops and they get accustomed to working together.

Johnson had an incredible season last year with 107 receptions over 1,161 yards for an average of 10.9 yards per reception over 16 games. This season, he’s not on track to coming close to that. Over nine games, he’s had 47 receptions over 435 yards for an average of 9.3 yards per reception. It’s evident that his performance has been impacted, but he’s doing what he can amidst the changes.

Unfortunately, there’s been a big hole left in the quarterback spot where veteran Ben Roethlisberger played for so long, and Johnson has made it known he’s frustrated.

Diontae Johnson has expressed frustration in new Steelers quarterbacks

Though his comments about Pickett weren’t all too bad, he made it known how he felt about Mitch Trubisky earlier in the season. Trubisky was Pittsburgh’s main starter for the first four weeks of the season, and Johnson verbally confronted him during halftime in Week 4. Coach Mike Tomlin then put Pickett in for the rest of the game and has made him the main starter.

He’s a bit more reserved when speaking about Pickett, possibly learning from his earlier mistakes. Pickett certainly shows potential, but he has a lot of work to do. He’s brand new to the NFL, so it’s possible Johnson is more patient with him for that reason.

Trubisky, on the other hand, has been in the NFL since 2017, but his stats don’t show consistency.

Johnson’s own rookie season wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as explosive as his 2021 season after he had a bit of time to get accustomed to the NFL and to Pittsburgh. Pickett seems to be in the same boat, where he’s not playing horribly but he’s certainly not at his fullest potential.

Regardless of how Pickett may progress in the future, it’s clear that he’s not able to play the same as he was with Roethlisberger at the moment, and he’s rightfully frustrated about that.

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