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Don’t Overanalyze Kenny Pickett’s 2nd Team Reps

Kenny Pickett moved up the ranks Monday, running second team throughout the entire practice after opening camp with the 3’s, jumping Mason Rudolph for the backup spot. On the surface, that sounds encouraging. In reality, it was all coordinated. Not that it’s a bad thing. But Pickett isn’t likely to become the permanent #2 the rest of the way. This is just the flow of camp. With an open roster battle and Pittsburgh needing to find out all they can about their QB room, they’re mixing and matching. Similar to how they’re operating at ILB with Robert Spillane and Devin Bush and CB with Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace.

Pickett’s made progress – small progress – but not enough to truly surpass Mason Rudolph for the #2 spot. Rudolph has had a nice start to camp and is still challenging Mitch Trubisky for the starting role, though based on Trubisky’s play and the money spent on him, Trubisky should still be considered the favorite. Yesterday was simply a different look, a chance to put Pickett with a different group, and see how he responds. Pickett had a fine practice, though not as great as some might make it out to be, and he could work as the #2 today. Equally as possible is him working as the #3 again, with Rudolph returning to the top backup spot. Don’t be surprised or alarmed if and when that happens.

2022 has been the summer of rotation, making the depth chart we created especially difficult. At quarterback, at left guard, at inside linebacker, at outside cornerback. An offseason of change has created more uncertainty than usual, and Pittsburgh is using the time to figure their roster out, not just play their starters and backups in nice and neat roles. That’s made gauging roles tough and frankly, the Steelers probably don’t know exactly how things will look come the end of the month.

That’s really the point. Pickett isn’t getting #2 reps because they’ve been 100% earned or because he’s now the backup. Pittsburgh’s just trying something different, putting Pickett with the 2’s, just as a chance to see how he responds. A new challenge, a new role, another set of circumstances for him to tackle. That’s why the team made the move. And they could as easily go back today, tomorrow, or next week. Pickett running with the backups is noteworthy but not something to go crazy over. Or else you’ll be awfully disappointed if Pickett goes returns to third-team.

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