Hailed as the most pro-ready quarterback in this year’s draft class, Steelers’ rookie Kenny Pickett seems like an overwhelming favorite to start the 2022 season under center for the team, barring a miraculous training camp and preseason by free-agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky. The job certainly won’t be handed to him, as head coach Mike Tomlin has been on record saying as much. However, earlier today he spoke on his comfort level working the two-minute offense, something the team has put an emphasis on lately as OTA’s press on.
And the man Pickett mentioned by name and gave credit to for his vast experience running this offense, is one who’s already been employed by the team previously, as the QB Coach when Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie, Mark Whipple.
“Yeah, I always had a lot of experience in college, so it’s familiar,” Pickett said earlier on the Pittsburgh Steelers Official YouTube Channel. “I felt pretty comfortable, even though being in a new system. [Former OC Mark Whipple] did an unbelievable job in getting me prepared for two-minute situations and situational football, so I can really shout out him and thank him for that.”
Pickett elaborated further on how the offense ran under his guidance today, with the team moving into scoring position but ultimately coming up short of sealing the deal. According to PPG’s Brian Batko, a highlight was Pickett finding fellow rookie, sixth-round fullback/tight end Connor Heyward open on a route in which he had the defender beat, and Heyward delivered, making an impressive one-handed, diving grab.
Having played his fair share of games at Heinz Field during his career as a Pitt Panther, Pickett should already have boatloads of experience playing in this stadium when the odds are stacked against him. He will get every opportunity moving forward to lead the offense into the end zone, be it at tomorrow’s minicamp, training camp later this summer or in a live NFL game. And he used the word execution to describe what he wants from those opportunities, whether it’s getting the offense to the huddle faster or making sure they’re in a lined up properly.
“It’s just executing really. I get the call from Coach Canada, I want to get our guys in-line, make sure we’re set in a legal formation and complete passes, move down the field and score, obviously the number one goal.”