The Steelers will be without key receiver Diontae Johnson for a bit as he recovers from a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week that it’s reasonable to expect veteran receiver Allen Robinson’s snaps will increase with Johnson sidelined. Calvin Austin is another player who may see some additional reps. Plus the club has George Pickens, who continues to ascend.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett acknowledged this week that it’s not just going to be one player who replaces Johnson’s role and production.
“I think it’s by committee,” Pickett said in his press conference. “Obviously, you know Diontae is a really good player, does so many good things for us, and was really kind of trending in the right way. I thought we had a great offseason and were doing great things in the game.
“[E]veryone’s got to step up and pick it up. It can’t just be one guy. But you know, I had a ton of reps with everybody. So, I’m confident they’ll go out there and execute.”
Robinson led the Steelers last week with 64 yards on five receptions. Pickens finished with five catches for 36 yards. And Austin caught all six of his targets for 37 yards.
Pickett said his confidence in targeting Austin has “always been high.”
“He does a great job,” Pickett said. “He worked so hard, always where I needed him to be, so I think that’s why we have success working together and I’m excited to get back out there on Monday and continue that success.”
The Browns displayed in Week 1 that their pass defense can be formidable by limiting Joe Burrow to just 82 passing yards. Especially without Johnson, the Steelers may have their work cut out for them on Monday night.