Steelers need to eliminate drops

JuJu believes best games still ahead

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Going into Wednesday’s game the Steelers had the fourth highest drop percentage of any team in the league, the Ravens game did nothing to help that.

Depending on what you consider a drop, the Steelers had nine of them during the win against a depleted Baltimore team.

“We dropped too many significant passes, very catchable, makeable passes,” said head coach Mike Tomlin.

When pressed as to why it happened, Tomlin said “us sucking”.

“Dropped passes when it was third down, fourth down, these are plays we have to make,” said receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.  “Especially in the red zone, we had a tremendous amount dropped in the red zone where it could have been seven points instead of three points.”

Twice the Steelers had to settle for short field goals and another time, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception on fourth down.

“Not executing our plays,” said Smith-Schuster.  “It’s very frustrating going into the red zone and not put points on the board.  It sucked.”

“I need to be more accurate with my passes,” said Roethlisberger said.  “I need to give them better chances to make plays.”

While there may have been a pass or two that Roethlisberger could have thrown better, much of the issue was with the receivers.

“We played sluggish,” Smith-Schuster said.  “We had a bad start.  Our defense saved our ass again.  This is something that has happened before.”

“We just weren’t good enough at all today,” Roethlisberger said.  “I mean, obviously we won.  Sure doesn’t feel like it.”

“Just not good football.  It starts with me.  This is a mental game.  This has been a very mentally challenging and draining week.  But at the end of the day we need to step on the football field and play good football when it’s time.”

There are a couple reasons for the challenging and draining week.  The ever-changing schedule where the game moved dates four different times.  Losing starters Maurkice Pouncey, James Conner and Stephon Tuitt for the game due to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.  The team chaplain, Kent Chevalier, close to many players on the team, lost his brother to coronavirus.

Smith-Schuster said no excuses.  Tomlin said something similar.

Roethlisberger said it’s not all negative and singled out a player who he believes should get more opportunities.

“James Washington is a guy that is getting on the field and needs to get on the field more,” Roethlisberger said as Washington had a huge 3rd and 6 catch on the final drive, but only had three targets.  Washington also has played less than 20 percent of the team’s snaps in four of the last five games.

“But it’s not because anybody’s not doing good, it’s just because he is a player that can make plays,” Roethlisberger continued about Washington.  “We always talk about guys staying fresh.  We need to rotate guys, get him on the field, because he’s hungry, wants to be out there and make plays for us.”

“We really haven’t shown our complete offense yet,” Smith-Schuster said.  “I think we played games where we start off super-slow.  We played games where we start out super-fast and just don’t finish at the end.  At the end of the day, a win is a win and we keep moving forward on to Washington.”

It’s a short turnaround, but Tomlin doesn’t believe it’s a tough fix.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Tomlin said.  “It’s not some transformational thing that needs to transpire.  We got to coach better and play better when we get inside the bowl.  I expect our group to do that Monday night, Monday evening, whenever it is that we play.”