After a preseason which saw each of Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph each get their shots, the cookie crumbled in the way of Trubisky being named the starter, which was a foregone conclusion since basically OTA’s and training camp. The backup spot was a different story, and after initially named the third-stringer, the rookie out of Pitt is officially the direct backup.
Trubisky’s story has been well-documented ever since being the number two overall pick back in 2017, famously ahead of the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. If he falters in Pittsburgh, which is very possible, Pickett will be waiting in the wings, and earlier today Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada was asked about the team’s first round pick’s progression.
“I feel like Kenny got better every week as far as the games,” Canada said via a team transcript. “I feel like Kenny got better probably every day as far as from rookie minicamp on.”
Perhaps the highlight of Pickett’s preseason was the touchdown strike he threw to receiver Tyler Vaughns with three seconds left, propelling the team to a 32-25 victory. Overall, in the preseason he completed 29 of 36 attempts for 261 yards, three touchdowns, and most importantly, no interceptions. His mobility was also on display at several times, extending plays and showing command of the huddle.
“I’ve said it a couple times, he had good plays and bad plays, like everybody does, and some plays like “what are you doing,” but I think in his overall picture he continued to get better and did a good job and is deserving of where he’s sitting right now,” Canada said.
Where he’s sitting right now is in a good spot to learn behind a talented QB in Trubisky, one in which will be looking to maximize the opportunity that’s in front of him. Despite owning a career 29-21 record as a starter, including a Pro Bowl nomination in 2018, Trubisky is often viewed as the scapegoat for the troubles of the Chicago Bears during his time there.
If he fares well leading the offense, and overachieves, Pickett might be relegated to the bench a bit longer. A familiar instance might be the situation which unfolded years ago in San Diego, when Drew Brees performed well, relegating first-rounder Philip Rivers to the bench. It was a conundrum the team ultimately decided was best to go with the rookie. Could a similar situation be unfolding in Pittsburgh? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.