Steelers News

Kenny Pickett ‘Just Playing To Win’, Says ‘Whatever Happens Happens’ With Depth Chart

What was Kenny Pickett playing for last night? The Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie first-round draft pick got some ‘varsity’ reps in the team’s second preseason game, playing the bulk of the offense’s snaps in the second quarter, even if it only amounted to a total of eight non-penalty plays.

What was I playing for? Just playing to win, man, like always”, he said in the locker room when a reporter asked him that very question, via the team’s website, making reference to the ostensible battle for the starting quarterback job between himself, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph.

“I go play, man. Whatever happens happens with that”, he said when asked for further elaboration on his feelings about the depth chart and where he fits into it. “I just want to go win. So I’m really happy we got the win tonight”.

Though he hasn’t been asked to push the ball down the field, one defining trait of Pickett’s game during the preseason thus far is his accuracy, something that we have seen elevate on a weekly basis throughout training camp, which we know thanks to people like our own Alex Kozora actually keeping track of such information. But people—especially reporters—really want to know how he feels about the depth chart. So they kept asking.

“I answered that one already. I told you, man”, he said to the same reporter who asked the same question phrased differently about a minute later. “I go out there and play. That’s it. And I don’t think about it. I’m a football player. Whatever number they have me as, I don’t care. I’m gonna go out there and play every single time as hard as I can. That’s really it on that one”.

Truth be told, there is a bit of a fated atmosphere residing over the quarterback battle, with the perhaps correct assumption that the job is Trubisky’s already, barring something extraordinary. How great does Pickett have to play, or how poorly Trubisky, to qualify for extraordinary? I don’t know, but I’m guessing we haven’t seen it.

Still, the rookie has done his part in putting the pressure on the veterans in the room, and has been the best of the three quarterbacks during the preseason thus far according to most observers. Last night, he did get to play with some first-team personnel for the first time, specifically the offensive linemen.

Head coach Mike Tomlin only afforded him two drives in the game, as mentioned, closing out the first half, his first snap coming with under seven minutes to play. His first drive was a three and out, his second a five-play touchdown drive, culminating in a pass in the flat to Benny Snell Jr. that was preceded by a negated touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson a play earlier.

As long as he finishes the preseason strong, I think we can at least say that the coaching staff will have Pickett on their mind until he’s put into the starting lineup. That doesn’t mean they’re going to rush him in there as long as Trubisky is doing his job. But they’ll know what they have on the bench, and they won’t forget it.

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