Usually, it’s hard to get super excited about a preseason game. Sure, it means football is back and after seven long months of waiting, there’s inevitably some hype involved. But now, Pittsburgh Steelers fans might be even more excited for one specific reason.
Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
There’s something special about a first-round QB making his NFL debut that makes football fans want to tune in. Plenty of die-hards and casuals will turn on the TV just to watch Pickett take the field.
Surprisingly, the rookie might not have guaranteed playing time when the preseason starts next Saturday.
At least not according to Mark Madden from 105.9 The X. Per TribLIVE, Madden said Pickett could have to wait until taking the field.
“Pickett just isn’t close to being ready. In fact, I’m told he may not be ready to play exhibitions yet. That’s how shaky they feel he has looked in camp,” said Madden.
He elaborated on his expectations for the quarterback rotation next Saturday, commenting that “If you made me predict right now what the division of duty will be in the exhibition game Saturday, I’d say Trubisky and Rudolph each play half, and Pickett maybe gets a series.”
Although that would fit what the Steelers have been doing all camp, it would be a huge surprise if all we get to see from Pickett is just one series. Even if he’s struggling, one would assume Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff wants to see him in real-game scenarios.
On the other hand, you can see the logic behind Pickett not getting significant playing time. After all, Mitchell Trubisky appears to be locked in at QB1. Mark Kaboly from The Athletic recently joked that he would need to break a leg to not be the starter in Week 1 in his mailbag (he also said “Pickett isn’t ready”).
Meanwhile, Mason Rudolph has done enough in training camp to keep his spot as the #2 so far. If the Steelers legitimately believe Pickett is far from ready, it could make sense for them to try to give as many reps to the two guys that are closer to playing.
All that being said, it’s an unusual spot to be in for a first-round quarterback. And it’s far from encouraging. Many of us didn’t expect Pickett to be the starting QB right away and perhaps not all season long.
But that’s one thing.
Another completely different thing is the fact that the rookie appears to be third in the rotation by a wide margin in spite of Trubisky and Rudolph not looking great either. We’ll see how things develop throughout the preseason.
Things change quickly in the NFL. We’ll see if things do around Kenny Pickett.
Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports