Mike Tomlin on Diontae Johnson's Struggles: "He'll Have Gas Left in The Tank For December"

Noah Strackbein

Pittsburgh Diontae Johnson took Steelers Nation by storm during the opening weeks of his rookie season. The third-round pick and former Toledo standout took control of the receiving core during Mason Rudolph's first two starts, catching 9 passes for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

Since then, Johnson has been off-and-on for the Steelers, with only two games of over 50-yards since Week 4. With one touchdown in the last eight weeks, and one catch for 14 yards against the Cleveland Browns in Week 13, concerns on Johnson's decline have began to surface. 

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said it's not necessarily a struggle for Johnson at this part of the season but rather the inexperience that's effecting him. 

"I don't know if it's the tough part of the season or if it's the season itself," Tomlin said. "When you're a young guy, each and every week you're presented with challenges, and particularly when you get on this side of Thanksgiving, it's uncharted territory for a guy from Toledo."

Tomlin said the team has prepared for Johnson's season to effect him and are working with him to get through a longer season than he's used to. The rookie is a primary part of the Steelers offense and Tomlin says he'll continue to be part of the game plan moving forward.

"He's done a good job, and we've been thoughts about the management of him over the course of the journey," Tomlin said. "He'll have gas left in the tank for December and we'll utilize it." 

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