Days removed from Kenny Pickett’s first NFL action, chances are you’re still thinking about that game-winning touchdown pass. The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie had himself quite the introduction last weekend by putting together a very efficient performance that led to a dramatic finish.
Now, Pickett has shaken up the narrative in Pittsburgh. Throughout most of the offseason, the first-round pick sat behind Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph on the depth chart. Now, Steelers fan groups on social media are calling for Pickett to get a legit chance at starting in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Let’s pump the brakes on that before it gets out of hand.
Not even Pickett’s long-term upside had him at #2 in the offseason rotation, even though that’s apparently changing after the preseason opener.
In the Steelers’ first practice after the game, it was Pickett working with the second team instead of Rudolph. A promotion?
Perhaps, but as The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly points out, such a promotion is based on the Steelers’ plan instead of performance. Such a plan has been a hot topic all of the offseason as we know very little about it.
One thing has been clear about the plan, though. The Steelers’ starting quarterback is named Mitchell Trubisky. And even an epic preseason game-winning touchdown won’t change that.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky reminded Steelers fans of that on Monday with the following tweet.
Kenny Pickett played well— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) August 16, 2022
But if Trubisky was your starter going into this week—he still is.
And even though I don’t agree with Orlovsky all the time (he has some hot takes here and there but remains a good analyst), I strongly believe him to be right here.
I’m all for being flexible in your decision-making and allowing the facts to change your opinion or stance on anything. But should a half of preseason football divert you from the plan at QB1 after spending a whole offseason’s first-team reps on your veteran quarterback?
The short answer is no.
The long answer? As encouraging as it was to watch Kenny Pickett put together a solid outing in his first action as a Steeler, there’s no way it changes anything drastically. He looked good, making accurate throws in the three levels of the field.
But he also displayed some of the much-discussed concerns about his game, including impatience in the pocket. Not to mention, the Seahawks were playing vanilla defense when Pickett took the field. We don’t know much about the Steelers’ plan at quarterback, but we do know they’ve preached patience.
That doesn’t change after a game-winning touchdown pass in the preseason.
However, Pickett’s work could make him jump to QB2 in the regular season. After all, if the idea is to develop the rookie quarterback, suiting him up seems to be the correct approach. Even if Mason Rudolph has been better in camp.
Featured image via Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports