First Call: 1 Steeler wants less talk, more action on offense; Myles Garrett may play after crash; NHL health updates – TribLIVE

  • September 30, 2022

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In Thursday’s “First Call,” we have a blunt review of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense from one of their alumni in the media.
Diontae Johnson has a succinct message for all the players on offense. Myles Garrett is recovering from his injuries sustained in a car wreck earlier this week; we have an update on his timeline for a return to action.
Plus, some big names in the NHL’s Eastern Conference are going to be out for a while with injuries.

Ugly assessment
Former Steeler Ryan Clark had a rough summation of the Steelers offense Wednesday.
“They (stink),” the ESPN analyst said on 93.7 The Fan. “The skill players are underachieving. You line them up — George Pickens, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris. This should be an offense that should produce explosive plays and also consistency in games, but they are not.”
The former Super Bowl-winning safety thinks that the biggest problem is that there isn’t one single biggest problem to identify.
“Whether it’s Matt Canada, whether it’s the offensive line, whether it’s Mitch Trubisky, I’m not sure. I don’t think Coach Tomlin can be sure either, so I believe it’s hard to fix because of it,” Clark told ‘The PM Team.’
That being said, Clark is at least seeing signs of improvement.
“The last game against Cleveland was the best Mitchell Trubisky has looked,” Clark said. “I thought he took some shots down the field: The pass to George Pickens, the dime the left side to Diontae Johnson, which is a side of the field he doesn’t use a ton. … I think the run got going a little bit better. Najee (Harris) and Jaylen (Warren) can truly be a really good one-two punch. I think Warren has a little bit more burst than Najee right away. He can get through some holes quicker.”
The Steelers rank 31st in total yards per game (272.7). Only the Chicago Bears at 265 per game are worse.

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Tone it down
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson thinks he and the rest of the players need to dial back the grumbling.
Diontae Johnson says there needs to be less talk, more action from Steelers offense. pic.twitter.com/TjAvACIAPq
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) September 28, 2022

Johnson, Trubisky, Claypool, Pickens, Freiermuth and Mason Cole have all offered various critiques or suggestions for how the offense should improve.
Now Johnson thinks it’s time for everyone to just zip it and stay focused on the task at hand. That’s beating the New York Jets on Sunday.
“We knew this coming in,” Johnson said Wednesday. “It’s a new team. New players. We got a new quarterback. It’s going to take time. We’re going to get there. I won’t count us out just yet. It’s still early in the season, so we still got a lot of football left. And I feel like we’re going to be fine.”
Johnson leads the team with 196 yards and 21 receptions.
“It’s on us to make the plays, and the coaches put us in the right spot(s) to get us open and whatnot,” Johnson said. “And I feel like they’ve been doing that. We’ve just got to play and not talk as much. Just play, and it’s going to all come together.”
That may be easier for Johnson to say than anyone else. He has 33 targets thus far in 2022. That’s 12 more than anyone else on the team.
A ‘maybe’ for Myles
Cleveland Browns defensive star Myles Garrett is going to be back in the Browns facility Thursday after missing a day because of injuries he sustained in a car wreck earlier this week.
That’s according to ClevelandBrowns.com. The team website reports that head coach Kevin Stefanski isn’t ruling Garrett out as a participant in practice Thursday. And he’s leaving the door open for Garrett to play against the Atlanta Falcons.
“We’re very, very grateful that he’s OK,” Stefanski said Wednesday. “I’ve spoken to him. He’s staying home today resting, but we will see him tomorrow morning. … It’s a case-by-case basis. Really, I have spoken to him, but we’ll get to have him in the building (Thursday) and talk more in-depth.”
Garrett suffered a shoulder sprain, biceps strain, minor lacerations and some bumps and bruises to various other body parts.
Flyer won’t face surgery
Noted Penguins nemesis Sean Couturier is listed as week-to-week. But he will not need surgery for an upper-body injury, according to NHL.com.
Because of the injury, the center has not participated in the club’s training camp, which opened Sept. 22.
Couturier last played Dec. 18, 2021. He had back surgery on Feb. 11. On Sept. 12, Couturier said that it had been about two weeks since doctors had cleared him to be a full participant in training camp.
The Flyers will begin regular season play Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils. They don’t play the Penguins until Nov. 25 in Pittsburgh. Couturier has 28 career points in 46 games against the Pens, more than any other team except for the 29 he has posted against the New York Rangers.

Time off for Tavarez
The news isn’t great for the Toronto Maple Leafs either. John Tavares will be out for the start of the season because of an oblique injury. The center is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks. That’s according to NHL.com.
The Maple Leafs open the season in Montreal on Oct. 12. They don’t play the Penguins until a Nov. 11 game in Toronto.
Tavares picked up 27 goals and 76 points in 79 games last season.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.
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