Pickett, Steelers trying to recapture offensive identity

There's some frustration in the Steelers' lack of offensive production in their first two games of this season and it's not just among the team's fans.

The Steelers themselves are frustrated by what they've produced in their first two games. And first and foremost on that list is quarterback Kenny Pickett.

The second-year quarterback has led the offense to just two touchdowns in the first two games. And though the Steelers (1-1) won last Monday night, 26-22, over the Browns thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns, fixing the offensive issues is the top priority for the team heading into Sunday night's game at Las Vegas against the Raiders.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday said the offense needed to find its mojo again. Pickett said it was more about establishing an identity.

"We've got to find it. Clearly, we don't have one," Pickett said Wednesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"It's a team game, the ultimate team game. One guy does something wrong on a play as an offense, it usually doesn't go your way. So, we've got to stay together. Don't let the popcorn effect happen, which is one guy on each play."

Two games into the season, that's been easier said than done.

The Steelers are averaging 247 total yards per game. Only the Bengals have been worse. And their 48 rushing yards per game also are 31st in the league as the offense has produced just 24 first downs in two games.

The Steelers have moved the ball in fits and spurts, but haven't consistently sustained drives, largely because of those mistakes Pickett attributed to the "popcorn effect."

"There's good plays and there's bad plays. That's the way it's going to go every game. There's just too much bad popping up that we have to get off tape," Pickett said. 

"The attitude is going to be there. People are frustrated. Nobody likes to be playing like that. From a fanbase standpoint, a player standpoint, nobody wants that offense out there that we're putting out right now. We know we have to be better. We're going to keep pushing for that."

The key is getting back to some of the basics.

The Steelers know what they want to be offensively. They were that in the second half of last season when they averaged 146 yards rushing per game and Pickett turned the ball over just once in his final eight games.

Only the Kansas City Chiefs sustained more drives that were 10 or more plays.

But recapturing that has been a chore thus far.

"I just want to get back to playing offense the way we know we can play it, running the football, having the play-action of it, getting the guys the ball downfield. It just seems we're missing an element of that in the two times we've been out," Pickett said.

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"We want to be balanced. We have great backs. We've got the offensive line. We've got receivers. We have the pieces to be balanced. We haven't been that yet. When we become that, we'll be the offense we want to be."

In the meantime, they'll continue to try to win games any way they can while working to correct their issues.

As Tomlin stated Tuesday, they won't have knee-jerk reactions or massive overhauls to what they're doing.

"It's staying together. Obviously, this isn't the start that we wanted, that we worked for. We need to stay together and just keep improving. That's got to be the goal," Pickett said.

And his belief in himself and his teammates remains strong.

"Still high. Absolutely," Pickett said of that belief. "I see these guys work. I know what we can do. When you watch the tape, you see things that aren't us. We want to be perfect out there. You're never going to be perfect, but that's what you're pushing for."