Fillipponi: Mike Tomlin gave Steelers false sense of security in preseason


Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh Steelers ran through the preseason with three double-digit victories. Unfortunately, that may have done them more harm than good heading into the regular season.

The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi of the Audacy original podcast “1st & Pod” discussed the Steelers’ disappointing Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that exposed some major issues.

“I think it’s more about the Steelers being bad. I really think it was more about how pitiful they were in this game across the board,” Fillipponi said (8:00 in player above). “Pickett was terrible. I’m never going to get hoodwinked into preseason performance ever again. It doesn’t mean s–t.

“If anything, I think Tomlin as a ‘great coach’ maybe gave his team a false sense of security that they were better than they really were because they were feasting against third-string Atlanta Falcons and backup Tampa Bay Buccaneers in two of those three games and thought ‘Oh, we’re really good.’”

Pickett completed 13 of 15 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason. The Steelers scored 78 points in their three games. Tomlin thought that could continue into the regular season.

“This may sound like a little thing but they won the toss and he said ‘Give me the ball.’ He did not defer,” Fillipponi continued. “He thought his offense was going to do what it did in the preseason and just shove it right up San Francisco’s No. 1 defense rear end. It did not.”

Fillipponi still believes in Pickett under center, but he’s concerned with the offense on the whole.

“The offensive coaching is just not major league. You see what San Francisco does to get guys wide open. This offense doesn’t do that,” he said. “George Pickens is visibly frustrated on the bench because he’s not getting targeted and he’s their best receiver. He takes a taunting penalty and then he basically tells reporters to eff off after the game.”

The Steelers will look to shake off their Week 1 loss when they host the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.

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