Pittsburgh Steelers hoping to open up passing game, get WR George Pickens more involved

PITTSBURGH -- Two weeks into the Pittsburgh Steelers' season, quarterback Mitch Trubisky hears the calls to open up the passing game. And he wants to answer the bell.

"I like to throw the ball down the field," he said Tuesday. "Why I haven't given the certain looks, especially during the game, I can't tell you exactly. But we're looking for that. I'm looking for that."

Trubisky is averaging 5.1 yards per attempt this season, second worst in the league only to injured Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

One thing that could help the Steelers' passing game beginning with Thursday night's showdown in Cleveland is involving rookie wide receiver George Pickens. The Georgia product impressed in training camp and the preseason, but so far, he has only six targets, two receptions and 26 yards.

"I think I could look for 14 more often, George [Pickens]," Trubisky said. "He's doing a great job for us, and I've just got to get these playmakers the football, whether it's whatever out there running, I've just got to get them the ball. It really comes down to me making better decisions, being aggressive and giving, putting us ourselves in that position."

For a second game in a row, the passing game was stagnant. Monday, Mike Tomlin preached patience in the developing offense -- but he also said that both the quarterback and the playcalls could be more aggressive.

"Obviously there's opportunities down the field that we've got to make," offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. "... we're gonna keep getting Mitch in position to make plays. And we have to do that. We'll continue to do that until we win.

"... We have to make plays. We have to call plays. It's all of us, until we produce enough on offense. I'm in charge. and I'm fine with that. It's 11 guys doing their job, including all of us as coaches. We never gonna point a finger anywhere."

Wide receiver Chase Claypool believes his unit is close to having it all together.

"Our offense isn't dead in the water," Claypool said. "It's just a couple different things happen in the game. Even like two different, two plays, two big plays that the offense makes and maybe no one's talking about the offense, because those [plays] could be 50, 60 yards apiece. I think we've just got to trust the plan."

For Trubisky, it's about trusting himself and balancing plays that could give his unit a spark with ones that could be to its detriment. "There's a fine line between protecting the football, and you wanting to be aggressive," said Trubisky, who added he doesn't have the ability to call audibles on some plays. "So you want to be aggressive as a quarterback, but when you have a great defense, you also want to protect your football, because they're always going to keep us in games."

The Steelers could also mix in a tempo offense, which helped them score their lone touchdown in the second half.

"I'm comfortable with it," Trubisky said of using tempo offense. "You've just got to pick and choose when you use it. I thought the time we used it in the game, it worked well. So if we use it more often, that's up to the coaches."