Steelers coaches’ brutally honest assessment of rookie QB Kenny Pickett

‘Trial By Fire’: Steelers coaches’ brutally honest assessment of rookie QB Kenny Pickett

‘Trial By Fire’: Steelers coaches’ brutally honest assessment of rookie QB Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett, Mike Tomlin

Putting together a list of positive takeaways for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is no easy task. The team enters its bye week at the bottom of the AFC North with a record of 2-6. Chief among the concerns of head coach Mike Tomlin and company is that the Steelers are the NFL’s lowest-scoring offense (15.0 points per game), according to Pro Football Reference, led by rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. Despite the early woes of the first-year signal-caller, the coaching staff feels encouraged by the efforts of Pickett, per team beat writer Dale Lolley.

“[Pickett’s] getting a trial by fire. He’s being exposed,” said Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan. “He goes on the road there at Buffalo, (seeing) some great defenses, some great pass rushes in Philadelphia. It gives him an opportunity to learn from those circumstances and continue to grow and develop the kind of confidence he already has, but it reinforces that.”

Though the early stretches of Pickett’s career have come against tough competition, Sullivan doesn’t believe “there is a downside to it. He’s a tough young man, and we’re expecting big things from him.”

Through five games (four starts), Pickett has thrown for 962 yards in addition to two touchdowns and a troubling eight interceptions, per Pro Football Reference. While such a statistical output does not encourage much optimism, the Steelers seem satisfied with the poise Pickett has shown this season. That said, his on-field struggles are not lost on the coaching staff.

“We’re not all sitting here like, ‘Oh, it’s fine,’ and he’s not either. We want him to get better every day. We want that for everybody. Kenny is the quarterback, and he’s the focal point,” shared offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Even Pickett himself has owned up to his mistakes and acknowledges there is work to be done, sharing in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that “… we need to look each other in the eyes and get it turned around. We’re only going to be able to do it.”

Will the Mike Tomlin-led Steelers turn their season around following the bye week? Will Kenny Pickett rise to the occasion and bring home a win next Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10?


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