Mike Florio and Chris Simms Break Down Whether Kenny Pickett Should Start Week 1

On Pro Football Talk Live today, Mike Florio and Chris Simms talked about the possibility and viability of the Steelers starting Kenny Pickett Week 1. 

“Pickett is checking the boxes of what they were looking for when they drafted him. Guy who has that competitive fire, a guy who acts like he’s been born to do this,” Florio said. “I saw the numbers, the air yards, for the throws between him and Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, his air yards through two games are by far the lowest of the three quarterbacks. It doesn’t matter. You’re running the offense, you’re distributing the football and you’re creating excitement and that’s undeniable. And if Mitchell Trubisky is the starter Week One, he’s gonna be on a short leash.”

I agree to an extent that the air yards don’t really matter. Pickett has looked the best out of Pittsburgh’s three quarterbacks so far in preseason action and he’s moved the ball the most effectively. Still, it would be nice to see him take a shot downfield every so often. He’s been making the right reads so far, so you can’t fault him for not doing so. 

That’s why it doesn’t make a lot of sense why he wasn’t given more action against Jacksonville on Saturday. If Pickett is able to push the ball downfield effectively, he’s going to be starting for this team sooner rather than later, but he hasn’t shown that in live action quite yet. The ball is still moving, but you’d like to be able to see your starting quarterback have some success on throws down the field. 

Simms believes the Steelers should roll with Pickett Week 1.

“The way it looks right now, I would go with Kenny Pickett. Just go, Pittsburgh. Mike Tomlin will know how to manage it and all that. I only have one issue, or one question, and it’s not Kenny Pickett. Man, the Steelers O-Line ain’t good. And that’s what I worry about,” Simms said.

Facing pressure on Saturday night, Pickett looked the best out of the three quarterbacks in still being able to make a play. The question of health with a rookie quarterback comes into play, but if Pickett is the best quarterback, they should start him regardless of how bad the offensive line is. In the NFL, he’s still going to take some hits even if the offensive line is a top unit in the league. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 242 times in his first six years in the league, and he turned out fine. I don’t think you avoid starting a guy just because you think he’s going to get hit a lot. 

With all that being said, I don’t think Pickett starts Week 1. I think this team knows they’re rolling with Mitch Trubisky, and Pickett’s performance is just putting more pressure on Trubisky to perform right away. If he doesn’t, we could see Pickett by Week 4. Even though he’s looked the best so far, I just don’t think the Steelers have any intention of starting him. Right or wrong, Trubisky is going to be the guy Week 1. 

I think Trubisky is capable of being a solid quarterback for this team. The offensive line might make that difficult for him, though, and if the Steelers think Pickett could do better, he could take over relatively quickly. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens the first few weeks and how much of a leash Trubisky gets. Right now, the leash is seemingly getting a lot smaller than it was at the start of training camp.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!