As the Pittsburgh Steelers wrap up the preseason and start their preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals come Week 1 of the regular season, all eyes await the decision by the coaching staff as to who with be named the team’s starting QB. Mitch Trubisky has been the favorite to win the job since he got to Pittsburgh, being named the team’s first-string passer for OTAs, minicamp, and training camp while starting every preseason game.
Still, rookie Kenny Pickett has been hot on his tail since Pittsburgh played their first preseason game, seeing a drastic improvement in play and consistency from the start of training camp until now. He finished the preseason 29/36 for 261 yards with three TDs and zero INTs, posting a passer rating of 124.7.
When OC Matt Canada was asked about Pickett and his comfort level of having him enter the game as a rookie QB in the regular season, Canada was quick to praise Pickett’s progress from where he started back in the spring until now.
“I feel very comfortable with Kenny Pickett in any role,” Canada said to the media following practice Tuesday on video via Steelers.com. “I think he’s had a tremendous camp. I think he’s shown growth from day one of rookie minicamp to as we went through OTAs and he did some things that looked like a rookie or whatever, and he’s still going to be a rookie. But I think he’s progressed as well as we would hope that he would. Again, I’m sure there’s plays he would want back, but as a whole, he’s done a very good job as all three of ’em have.”
Pickett started out a little rattled at training camp as Alex Kozora reported when in attendance at Saint Vincent College, failing to push the ball down the field and resorting to checking the ball down as he tried to get a hold of the offense. However, he steadily improved and that became evident to all as he showed poise and leadership at the QB position, moving the offense down the field and putting points on the board. Pickett twice successfully ran the two-minute offense, scoring the game-winning TD on a pass to Tyler Vaughns in Week 1 against Seattle and taking the lead right before halftime in Week 2 against Jacksonville with a TD pass to Benny Snell.
While Trubisky’s performance Sunday may very well cement his status as the team’s starting QB to open the regular season, Canada has no doubt that Pickett will be ready if and when his number is called.
“I think Kenny’s shown that he can come in a game through this preseason, and I appreciate that it’s preseason and not regular season,” Canada said on Pickett. “I think Kenny has shown he is ready to play, and we’ve been very pleased with where he is at.”