Mike Tomlin: Teams will try to stop Diontae Johnson, other guys making plays opens things up
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson admitted to frustration with his production after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the wideout’s comments during his Tuesday press conference.
Johnson is averaging 5.1 catches for 45.6 yards per game and has yet to score a touchdown this season after averaging nearly seven catches and just over 72 yards per game last season. He also caught eight touchdown in 2021, but there are some obvious differences from that team.
Ben Roethlisberger is no longer the quarterback and the Chase Claypool trade was the latest move to drop the amount of experience in the receiving corps. Tomlin cited Johnson’s status as the leader of that group as a factor in how this year is playing out.
“Let’s be frank,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Diontae is the known commodity within the group. People are going to have an agenda to minimize his impact on the game, particularly in significant moments: possession downs, red-zone football. When you’ve got a guy who has been a Pro Bowler — and, really, he’s the only one — and there is a young group, that is a component of it. How do you open up opportunities for a guy like that? Other guys make plays.”
Rookie wideout George Pickens had four catches for 83 yards and a score last Sunday and more production like that would likely help Johnson find a little more space to operate in the coming weeks.