PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers understand who Diontae Johnson is on the field, and because of that, their wide receiver one and his lack of opportunity this season isn't a concern.
Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed Johnson's lack of targets, explaining that teams are taking him out of the equation for the Steelers.
"Let's be frank, okay? Diontae is a known commodity within the group. People are going to have an agenda to minimize his impact on the game, particularly in significant moments, possession-down, redzone football," Tomlin said. "When you've got a guy that's been a Pro Bowler -- and really, he's kind of the only one when you've got a young group -- that's a component of it."
"So, how do you open up opportunities for a guy like that? Other guys make plays," he continued. "[George] Pickens had a nice game, [Pat]Freiermuth had a nice game. Those things create opportunities and balance within your attack, and opportunities for a guy like Diontae, which you mentioned."
Johnson was clearly frustrated after the Bengals game, saying any NFL player would be upset about the situation. He's yet to have more than five catches since Kenny Pickett stepped into the game, but Tomlin said he understands the position the team is in.
"He is a professional. Obviously, there's frustration; he wants to be a component of why we win and the significant component. But he is also a professional and he understands the dynamics of team play and what has to transpire for him to get opportunities," Tomlin said. "As a young guy, he's been a beneficiary of that in the past, as people have focused their energies on other known guys, for example."
There are no conversations about keeping Johnson's frustration down. Instead, the Steelers are just powering through with the understanding that their best weapon is going to be limited.
"There’s nothing new about that. You talk about any experienced receiver that gets minimized on a weekend, there's frustration associated with it," Tomlin said. "I imagine Tyler Boyd wanted the ball more than he got it, but we were able to identify and try to minimize his impact on the game because they didn't have [Ja’Marr] Chase, for example. So, that's just things that transpire each and every week inside NFL stadiums from a strategy standpoint."
Make sure you bookmark All Steelers for the latest news, exclusive interviews, film breakdowns and so much more!