The Pittsburgh Steelers have had to navigate dividing up reps for all three of their top quarterbacks this summer, essentially splitting time between Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph. But for a rookie like Pickett, more reps accelerated his learning curve. He started the summer as a somewhat distant #3 with the chance of him being inactive on gamedays, and is ending things as a clear #2 with an outside chance at the starting job.
Speaking with reporters following today’s practice, as tweeted out by 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn, Pickett discussed his increased comfort level running Matt Canada’s offense.
“The more you play in an offense, the more comfortable you get,” Pickett told the media. “The more reps I’m getting, the more continuity with my teammates, the guys I’m playing with more and more. I think you’re just seeing improvements and that’s kind of how it goes in this game.”
That’s the arc Pickett’s been on throughout the summer. He endured a slow start to camp, the clear #3 and was Checkdown Charlie over the first four practices, failing to complete anything past ten yards. But time and reps have grown his confidence and he’s been excellent the rest of the way, shining especially bright in the team’s two preseason games. He has as many touchdown passes as he does incompletions, three each, and the latter includes a spike during his two-minute drill last weekend. Playing in games surely slowed practice down for him and he’s shown calmness and composure that helped make him the team’s #1 QB.
Across the fifteen public practices we tracked data from, Pickett received 264 reps, an average of 17.6 per day. That number was in line with Trubisky and Rudolph, who received more snaps but by negligible amounts. Ultimately, Trubisky received the largest share of the reps but it was a clear plurality at 34.3%. Rudolph was second at 32.4% with Pickett third at 31%. Fourth-stringer Chris Oladokun rounded things out with 2.2% of the 11v11 reps.
Pickett played the entire second half in the opener against Seattle but saw just ten snaps in last weekend’s game versus Jacksonville, a bit of a curious decision as Pickett gave way to Rudolph for the rest of the game. Pickett is expected to play in the finale, though it’s unclear how much work he’ll receive.