Everyone knows the Pittsburgh Steelers are lagging on offense, but when media outlets explore why, it breaks the team apart, according to Najee Harris.
The Steelers have long been one of the most stable organizations in the NFL, and that’s part of what makes 2022 so difficult for the city of Pittsburgh.
It had been the same quarterback and coach for over a decade, which is why in 2022, the locker room is subjected to an entirely different line of questioning.
Primarily, is Mitch Trubisky ever going to get it together, and if not, when can Kenny Pickett start at quarterback?
Mike Tomlin has encouraged the Steelers community to “show steely resolve and smile in the face of adversity,” but Tomlin’s treasured running back, Najee Harris, finally opened up on just how hard it is to maintain that kind of resolve — especially when media outlets are “breaking us apart in a way.”
Najee Harris speaks out about constant media criticism of Steelers amid 1-2 start
Harris expounded on how constant media criticism is wearing down a locker room trying to maintain Tomlin’s steely resolve, per Pro Football Talk:
“I think it’s just the social media and the interviews or interviewers like you guys, not trying to put you guys in that category, you guys are just making the — just kind of breaking us apart in a way,” Harris said. “Because you guys keep asking questions like this. Like we’re at a point where we’re building right now. We’re working on it. But you guys come in here and ask questions of all the receivers and all the guys and Mitch about what is not working. That’s not how you build, and that’s not how you get better. You guys are breaking us up, and we need to find a way where we can just stay together and come together as a team and focus on what needs to matter most. Play calling . . . all that is fine. It’s just us executing. You guys keep blaming other people, it’s us in this locker room. We all need to come together and focus on what we need to improve on. Every week, every day we go out to practice. It’s not going to be perfect, but as long as the trajectory is going forward, that’s all that matters.”
Harris went further to deflect criticism of his offensive line teammates, taking responsibility for averaging 3.2 rushing yards per carry.
“I just need to trust them more. We got some really good guys. They’ve done a really good job of getting better, and they are good. We do have a good O-line. Too much I see in social media and all that is, you know, how bad they talk about our O-line, but it’s not. You know, I mean it’s me. So we need to just stop focusing on them, start focusing on me.”
To Harris’ point, NFL offensive lines often shoulder the blame for other offensive issues. For example, a quarterback could unnecessarily flee the pocket while facing little pressure, yet the resulting sack may be perceived as a deficiency of the offensive line.
In Harris’ case, the Steelers line, which proved extremely successful in consistently creating gaps for Le’Veon Bell and James Conner, isn’t seeing that kind of success so far this season. Harris has only gotten 128 yards through three games, yet the Steelers offensive line hasn’t been credited for any of the team’s sacks thus far in the season.
While fans looking on may see Harris and Trubisky struggling, this context demonstrates that what’s hampering the Steelers offense may be a bit more complicated than what can be ascertained outside the building. Even though fans can see Trubisky underperforming, the Steelers apparently have their reasons for keeping him — and Najee Harris asks everyone to respect that decision.
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