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The Steelers put rookie QB Kenny Pickett on the field in Week 4 after a dismal first half by starter Mitch Trubisky. Some saw this as Pittsburgh entering a new chapter, albeit very early in the season, after sputtering on offense the last four weeks.
Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson, on the other hand, is ready to call it a season.
He told Steelers reporters that this year is a “rebuild” campaign after suffering a crushing loss to the New York Jets on Sunday (24-20).
The Steelers are 1-3 through four weeks of 2022 NFL football and sitting in last place in the AFC North.
‘Obviously’ The Steelers Are Rebuilding…
Johnson spoke to the media on Monday, as relayed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and dropped the surprising quote.
“Obviously, it’s a rebuilding year,” Johnson said, sounding dejected by Pittsburgh’s ineffective offense.
“We can’t use that as an excuse. It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback or any position. It’s our job to get it done and win games. That’s what we have to do — win.”
Diontae’s reaction may also have something to do with his two catches and 11 receiving yards against the Jets.
Steelers Seem Lost, On and Off The Field
Johnson has groaned in prior rough stretches of the season for the Steelers.
This time around, there’s no veteran quarterback at the helm to at least encourage teammates to air their dirty laundry behind closed doors.
Even with Pickett’s two rushing touchdowns that put the Steelers up in the fourth quarter — before the Jets offense responded with a game-winning drive — the team seems quasi-committed to moving forward with the rookie.
Coach Mike Tomlin said in the postgame that he’s not putting all his stock in Pickett as the starter before officially naming him to the position on Monday.
“You know, I’m not going to talk extended as we sit here,” Tomlin said on Sunday. “We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win this game. We’ll do it again.
Johnson signed a two-year, $36.71 million contract extension over the offseason: an ultimatum DJ set before showing up at Steelers camp. He finished last season with 107 receptions for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns.