The more you do something, the better you tend to get at doing that thing. That’s usually how it works, provided that you’re putting in serious work in the effort to improve your abilities in the area you’re practicing.
And that’s typically what you’re going to find from rookies as training camp moves along. There are so many different facets of being an NFL player that one must adjust to that it’s only natural for most rookies to take some time to reach an adequate level of play, even on the practice field.
That’s even more crucial for positions like quarterback, but Pittsburgh Steelers rookie first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett’s coaches and teammates are seeing that growth, which he’s even seeing in himself. Fellow rookie Connor Heyward talked after practice yesterday about the development he’s seen in his draft classmate in the short time they’ve been in training camp.
“Each day. Just coming in getting better, being more vocal, and just being himself”, he told reporters, via the team’s YouTube channel. “Kenny has a lot of good qualities as a leader and as a quarterback, but it’s hard on your first day. It was even hard for me and all the rookies. Sometimes you’re gonna have those days. Not saying he did, but Coach always talks about getting better, showing growth, and I can definitely say he has”.
While head coach Mike Tomlin placed his prized possession third on the quarterback depth chart to start out, he would be the first to caution that there is nothing that should be read into the depth chart in its totality beyond the obligatory nature of its being written.
Still, it remains to be seen just how ‘open’ the quarterback competition really is, as it certainly has been presented as Mitch Trubisky and then everybody else—except Chris Oladokun, who hasn’t been given any team reps yet, at least in practices available to the public.
The team’s last two practices were moved indoors and even back to Pittsburgh due to inclement weather, so the truth is that we’re actually a bit behind in terms of on-field observations. One can only hope that we can have eyes back on the fields of Latrobe tomorrow to play some catch-up about the progress there is to observe.
As for Pickett, his future is coming at some point, we just don’t know when. It could be at some time this year, or he could end up sitting all season, with eyes on winning the Steelers’ starting quarterback position in 2023. The Steelers are very much open to that, I’m sure, if they believe somebody else gives them the best chance to win now.
But we’ll have to see how it all gets sorted out by the end of the preseason. Indeed, it will be a continual observation over the course of the season, although perhaps not weekly. But if Trubisky struggles, he could be pulled provided that the rookie—or Mason Rudolph—is ready to take the reins.