5 observations from Steelers repulsive performance vs. Texans in Week 4

Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Steelers receiving core has to become more involved

Kenny Pickett needs to improve as an NFL quarterback. He's hesitant when reading coverages, holds the football too long, and lacks pocket presence in crucial situations. Those are the headaches that come with molding a franchise quarterback.

Mike Tomlin understood that when the franchise drafted him. We do not expect Pickett to fit Ben Roethlisberger's shadow perfectly, but we hope he mirrors his results. Assistance from an absent receiving core could be a perfect solution.

Diontae Johnson's absence is hurting the Steelers. No one stepped up to fill his role - leaving Pickett without a primary target. Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens do what they can to make plays on the field. Their increased role in the offense created more attention from opposing defenses. They receive double coverage - forcing other players to make a play.

It's tough for fans to watch because no one has filled the No.1 receiver role. In Week 5, Najee Harris led the team in receiving. He earned 32 yards on one reception. Calvin Austin led receivers in receptions (3) and yards (24). Obviously, it was not enough to affect the scoreboard.

3. Steelers offensive line depth chart needs evaluation

Protecting the quarterback helps offenses move down the field. It allows the quarterback time to complete passes. Kenny Pickett has not experienced a clean pocket this season. Before Week 4, the Steelers ranked last in pass protection (28.7) and 28th in run blocking. There's nowhere to go on offense - forcing ball carriers to eat negative yardage.

DeMeco Ryans' front seven enjoyed playing against a confused Steelers line. They swarmed ball carriers and tormented No.8. Houston earned six tackles for loss and recorded two sacks. Unwarranted pressure caused Pickett to leave the game with a knee injury.

The Steelers hope their offensive line struggles did not cost them their starting quarterback for the season. We can expect Mitchell Trubisky to fill the starting role, but this issue needs a resolution.