Steelers QB Kenny Pickett calls out offense, mental mistakes

PHILADELPHIA -- In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett offered a blunt assessment of his team's offensive performance.

"Not detailed," Pickett said. "Guys need to know what they're doing. We need to study more. I don't think we study enough as a group. There's way too many penalties and stuff like that which we can control. It's all mental. So for that to happen, there's really no excuse for that. We have to figure that out and get it right."

The Steelers (2-6) were whistled for nine penalties totaling 60 yards against the Eagles, and three of them were offensive pre-snap penalties. Both left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor were called for illegal formation. Pickett, who turned the ball over twice and threw for 191 yards, was flagged for a delay of game. And, early in the first quarter, left guard Kevin Dotson was identified as an ineligible man downfield.

The penalties on Dotson, Okorafor and Pickett occurred just plays apart on the same drive, one that eventually ended in the Steelers' lone touchdown: a pass from wide receiver Chase Claypool to fullback Derek Watt on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Moore's penalty was called on the first play of the Steelers' third drive, immediately putting the Steelers behind the sticks. The group ended up gaining just 1 yard on the drive after Pickett connected with running back Jaylen Warren for a 10-yard gain on third-and-19.

"We got to stop beating ourselves up before we start, before we even do anything," running back Najee Harris said. "We beat ourselves up. We help the other team by doing the s--- that we do."

On the season, the Steelers have 12 pre-snap offensive penalties, ninth most in the NFL. Including defense and special teams, they've been called for 18, 11th most in the league.

"I thought we were too penalized," coach Mike Tomlin said, adding he plans to have officials at practice. "I look at those penalties. Some of them I thought were questionable, but that's life. Neither here nor there. I just thought the penalty component of it and our inability to keep a lid on it were Steelers versus Steelers. When you're playing good people like this group, you're not going to put yourself in a position to do the things you need to do."

The defense has its own issues, and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward challenged his teammates to look at themselves in the mirror.

"Either you learn and are accountable or you're not going to play," the veteran defensive captain said. "We're going into Week 8, and we've all been given chances to see that. If you can't do it, you won't play. That goes for everybody. I'm not singling one guy out. We've all got to be accountable. Myself included.

"As a leader, I've got to take most of the blame. It's easy to point [fingers]. It's better to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'I've got to get better.' So, I'm going to use this time to truly do that."

Entering the bye week, the Steelers, who currently sit in last place in the AFC North, have myriad issues to address, but chief among them, Pickett and Tomlin said, is reducing the mental mistakes that are leading to the penalties.

"We got to know what we're doing," Pickett said. "Not getting in the right spot, not having procedural penalties, personnel in and out of the huddle, all things we can control.

"There's no talent issues. ... Anyone in here could go do that, as long as they know what they're doing. We got to get right there. It starts with me. I got to be more on my stuff getting these guys right. And I'll take ownership of it."