One of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s favorite Tomlinisims is “make the routine plays routinely.”
It’s a succinct message but a powerful one.
Too often, young players can get caught up in making the spectacular plays leading to the social media exposure and blowing up from there. For Tomlin, he’s focused on seeing players make the routine plays rather routine. That’s what separates the good from the great players.
That’s the focus for second-year wide receiver George Pickens entering the 2023 season.
Already, Pickens has made the spectacular plays look routine, but he’s still trying to hone in on making the routine plays routinely. If he starts doing that in 2023, the potential is there for Pickens to be without peer, at least from the vantage point of 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn.
Appearing on the 93.7 The Fan morning show Thursday with hosts Adam Crowley and Dorin Dickerson, Hathhorn stated that if Pickens can begin to make the routine plays consistently, he can be the best receiver in the NFL.
“I watch him every day and he does some stuff that will blow your mind. I know there are some really talented receivers in the NFL; Ryan [Clark] sees more of them than I do. Instead of just making the crazy look routine, if he can make the routine crazy, I don’t know if there’s a better receiver in the league, or at least potential in the league than Pickens,” Hathhorn said of Pickens, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “He’s got everything. He’s got the hands, leaping ability, runs good routes, competitive. There’s a lot to love.”
There certainly is a lot to love regarding Pickens. He’s a height/weight/speed specimen, one that has become a contested-catch poster who makes some absurd catches all over the field, making things look rather easy.
But the routine plays routinely is a key part of the development. Whether that’s getting in and out of breaks and cutting much more crisply, creating ample separation in his routes, making plays after the catch or landing that key block in the run game, it’s all about making the routine look, well, routine.
He has all the flash in the world and certainly has all the belief in his abilities. He knows he needs to make the routine plays routinely though and has focused on doing that throughout training camp, aiming to become that complete receiver. If he does that and continues to be a contested-catch monster with absurd hands, the sky is the limit.
Greatness is within reach. He just has to keep putting in the work and improving.