PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – “They suck”
The first words from former Steeler and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark to the PM Team when asked about the team’s offense. Clark then chuckled as he said I guess you want me to say more.
“The skill players are underachieving,” Clark told 93.7 The Fan. “You line them up George Pickens, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris. This should be an offense that should produce explosive plays and also consistency in games but they are not.”
“Whether it’s Matt Canada, whether it’s the offensive line, whether it’s Mitch Trubisky, I’m not sure. I don’t think Coach Tomlin can be sure either, so I believe it’s hard to fix because of it.”
It’s an interesting perspective from Clark, is Tomlin not making changes because he’s not entirely sure what the problem is? Clark said he watched back the most recent game and admitted it wasn’t all bad. Agreeing with what Tomlin said Tuesday, there was some improvement.
“The last game against Cleveland was the best Mitchell Trubisky has looked,” Clark said. “I thought he took some shots down the field, the pass to George Pickens, the dime the left side to Diontae Johnson, which is a side of the field he doesn’t use a ton.”
“I think the run got going a little bit better. Najee and Jaylen can truly be a really good one-two punch. I think Warren has a little bit more burst than Najee right away. He can get through some holes quicker.”
To that point, Clark is in the growing camp of thinking Warren has earned a bigger role. The undrafted rookie has 11 carries for 52 yards.
“They are so different,” Clark told The PM Team. “We are at a point in this league where you can have a guy rush for 1,100 (yards) and a guy rush for 500 (yards). Nothing is wrong with that. It protects his body, keeps him fresh and you also add another dynamic.”
“Think about AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones and the way they are used in tandem in Green Bay. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, is there any question who is the number one in Cleveland. The other guy went to a Pro Bowl. It doesn’t have to be an issue or an ‘or’ thing.”
As for Mitch Trubisky.
“You watch some of Mitch and it’s really good,” Clark said. “There are other pieces where he is so risk averse. He doesn’t allow you to have any offense that can put up the points you need to win in this league.”
It’s that risk averse that really hampers the Steelers offense according to Clark. Without taking chances you often don’t get any rewards. He points to the Patriots taking a shot to Nelson Agholor even though he was covered by Ahkello Witherspoon. It changed that game. He would love to see that with Pickens or Claypool or even Johnson.
So does the prime responsibility for the Steelers offense rest with coordinator Matt Canada? Clark said there is some good stuff in what he does. He compares some of it with the Sean McVey’s and Kyle Shanahan’s of the NFL.
“Nothing is wrong with the way he uses shifts, he uses motion, all of those things are beautiful,” Clark told 93.7 The Fan. “It’s what he does after that. When are you going to use the middle of the field? When are you going to throw in the seams inside the numbers? Getting an offense that works more vertically than horizontally.”
“When you have a tight end as talented as Freiermuth, why aren’t you using opportunities to get him the football when all he’s done is produce? Why would you wait to do that?”
“You have to be smart about using your weapons and the way you utilize them. And not get caught up in what has worked for you in figuring out ways to make that work for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Clark said it is time for the Steelers to dial up some shots. And for Canada to tell Trubisky to take some shots. Take a risk, for if not, nothing will change.