The Steelers saw their rookie receiver get upset on Sunday, and it isn’t a good look for a developing star in this league.
The Steelers pulled out a win against the Falcons on Sunday, and while the win is worth celebrating, there were some inherent issues that persisted with the team. A common theme for this team has been lacking second halves, and that once again occurred this week. The team only scored three more points after halftime to just eke out a win.
Rookie George Pickens didn’t account for any of those points. Heck, he only accounted for two yards off his lone reception. After consecutive weeks of solid production and being the team’s top wideout, he was ineffective this week. It all came to a head when he walked to the sideline and yelled about his lack of activity from this week.
Pickens is a competitive player
To be clear, this wasn’t the blowup that some people have seemed to make it out to be. Pickens went to the sideline and was verbally upset over his lack of targets. He didn’t throw things like we have seen others do, and he made sure to keep his uniform on unlike a former Steelers receiver when he blew up last year.
Pickens has always been known to have a competitive spirit. He knows the talent he possesses, and he wants to be a weapon in this league. Most people like to say he “has that dawg” in him, but that is a warranted, albeit goofy, statement. He has an obvious drive, and that is what typically separates good players from great players.
To his credit, Pickens has backed up his reasoning of why he should get more chances. He has showcased numerous times an incredible ability to make contested catches and run sharp routes. He wants to be the top guy here, and that competitive desire leads to passion. From that perspective, Pickens’s sideline blowup is understandable.
The Steelers shouldn’t ignore this though
All of that said, it isn’t a good look for the young rookie to blow up as he did. The drive and desire to be great is a good thing to have, but you also have to be a team player at the end of the day. Even with the offense struggling to move in the second half, you have a lead and as a team, winning is the ultimate goal.
Seeing that outburst isn’t a great thing. Pickens has become more of an impact player in this offense and rightfully so, but that doesn’t mean he is going to be the feature of the offense every week. The Steelers won, and as a rookie trying to prove yourself, that needs to be your focus.
I don’t doubt that Pickens desires were for his own personal stats. He saw the offense stagnating in the second half and wanted to be the reason this team got back on track. As a rookie though, that kind of outburst has to be kept in check.
I genuinely don’t believe that this will be an issue long-term for Pickens. Cam Heyward was quick to speak to him and provide some insight into the situation. Passion is natural, but Pickens needs to be able to control himself. He has plenty of time to grow into that though considering his youthful age.
While I am understanding of Pickens’s side of things, the outburst on Sunday was not a good look. Assuming this is just a burst of passion that can be controlled, this story won’t stick around. However, if this issue persists, Pickens could quickly become a diva and a problem.