Offseason activities have long since ended and the Steelers’ players eagerly await training camp to commence on July 26th. Meanwhile, quarterback Kenny Pickett appeared on the Perfect Thursday podcast hosted by Jim Medure and Jake Zilinskas. Touching on several subjects, most notably, was OTAs and how the experience went for Pickett.
“Yeah, it was a good experience. [I’m] kind of getting my feet wet. Learning the offense is obviously the number one thing. So, once I felt like I had that down, I was playing a lot faster. So I’m looking forward [to going] to camp and getting back to it.”
The quarterback position has been heavily dissected this offseason. Currently, Pickett is in the mix with Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph for playing time as camp gets closer. As a rookie, Pickett has been under pressure to learn the offense, and judging from his statement, it’s coming along. As a first round pick, the pressure is certainly on with the starting job not yet officially settled.
In fact, while Pickett sounded confident in his abilities as far as learning the playbook, he pointed out that a lot more goes into playing in the NFL than that. He emphasized that while he’s familiar with Pittsburgh because of his collegiate career, there’s still work to do and he is aware of daily expectations as a quarterback.
“I’ve obviously lived here before, but in terms of football, no one really focuses on that too much. When you’re coming in, all you’re thinking is, ‘I’ve got to learn this playbook.’ But it’s different than in college. Everyone has families, so you gotta go out there and perform, because if you don’t perform well, it affects them.”
The differences between college football and the NFL are obvious to most fans. As Pickett mentions, there’s a lot riding on the professional level. Despite being a rookie, it’s a positive sign he’s cognizant of this, especially playing a position that lives and dies by the leadership displayed.
The Steelers’ offense as a whole will be under a microscope this season, and if Pickett’s name gets called, knowing how much is on the line is one fact that will lead to his success, along with knowing the plays, obviously. Pickett is off to a good start judging from OTAs, so that bodes well for a rookie. However, he’ll be competing against two quarterbacks that have plenty of NFL starts under their belt already. Having the playbook down is a nice first step, though.