George Pickens and the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to build on their strong finish from last season ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, and the second-year wide receiver recently indicated that could mean opening up their offense.
Pickens said Friday that the Steelers offense will likely be more aggressive in the passing game next season.
“That’s more of an explosive hint,” Pickens told The Athletic about hauling in a deep ball at practice. “We’re gonna probably take more shots this year. Try to mix it up a little bit. … The same plays are the same plays.
“As far as where we’re going with the ball, huge change.”
Pickens totaled 52 receptions for 801 yards and a team-high four touchdowns across 17 games in 2022 as a rookie. The young wideout also pulled off one of the best catches of the season, reeling in a wild one-handed catch behind his head against the Cleveland Browns.
All in all, Pittsburgh’s offense underwhelmed last season, averaging just 200.6 passing yards (24th in NFL), 121.9 rushing yards (16th), 322.6 total yards (23rd) and 18.1 points (26th) per game.
With that said, the Steelers won six of their last seven games to finish 9-8, albeit it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs. They did as such with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett starting 12 games, which mostly came from October-on. Pittsburgh has a mostly homegrown offensive playmaking core, as Pickens, Pickett, wide receiver Diontae Johnson, tight end Pat Freiermuth and running back Najee Harris were all team draft picks.
Pittsburgh selected Pickens with the No. 52 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Georgia.
The Steelers bolstered their offense in the offseason by acquiring veteran and one-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson from the Los Angeles Rams, as well as selecting offensive tackle Broderick Jones (traded up to No. 14) and tight end Darnell Washington (No. 93) — who both went to Georgia, as well — in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more