Bryant McFadden: Steelers Need To Go Up-Tempo Because They’re ‘Not Good Enough To Huddle Consistently’
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ passing game is a mess, and after the team’s 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, former Steelers CB Bryant McFadden had some solutions for how to try and fix things. Notably, he said he doesn’t think the Steelers’ offense is good enough to beat opposing defenses by consistently huddling and calling plays, and thinks using more tempo would benefit Pittsburgh.
“In regard to the passing game, I would love to see us become more aggressive. I would love to see us utilize more tempo. I think right now offensively, we’re not good enough to huddle consistently to beat opposing defenses,” McFadden said via KDKA’s Nightly Sports Call. “Let’s utilize tempo to where we may be able to kind of catch defenses not prepared or ready and catch them in vulnerable positions. And let’s take advantage of our matchups. There were a few opportunities [Sunday] where I saw a guy like Diontae Johnson or George Pickens singled up, they basically had one safety in the middle of the football field. Let’s take a shot, let’s play my-man’s-better-than-you-man football. That has to be the mindset because our top two guys, Diontae and George, if they ever get one-on-one opportunities and there’s only one safety? I’m checking. I trust that you’re going to make a play.”
Pittsburgh’s offense has just been stagnant for most of the season, and especially so on Sunday. RB Jaylen Warren was the only bright spot, and a lot of that falls on Pickett. The Browns went with a single-high safety on a few occasions yesterday, and Pickett didn’t take any shots. He played safe and didn’t turn the ball over, but at some point, he has to take a shot and show he can do something with pushing the ball downfield.
There needs to be some sort of change in Pittsburgh’s offense, and playing more up-tempo could be a way to do that. Keeping defenses on the field and wearing them out while not allowing them to change personnel could give the Steelers more favorable looks and provide the spark that they need. If they can catch defenses off-guard, Pickett might be able to actually find a few holes in the defense and make some plays to get his confidence up.
The lack of aggression in the offense has been frustrating, and the Steelers can also use tempo to find a way to become more aggressive. A few plays no-huddle leading to a shot play could catch defenses off-guard and give the Steelers a chance to really set something up. Especially with how conservative they’ve played in recent weeks, teams aren’t expecting Pittsburgh to come out and take a shot against them, and the Steelers can mix going more up-tempo with being more aggressive downfield.
The one positive is that Pittsburgh’s run game has finally gotten going, with Warren providing a major spark over the last few weeks. But they can’t be one-dimensional, and with Pickett not looking like a capable NFL quarterback, the Steelers are only going to go so far if they don’t change something or if he drastically improves.
We’ll see what happens against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12. But this Steelers offense just isn’t sustainable right now, and Pickett has to be better. He has to show he has it in him to lead this team and this franchise, not just to the playoffs but to wins in the playoffs. Right now, he doesn’t seem capable of that, and maybe bringing some changes to the offense would be beneficial.