With the regular season quickly rearing its head, we are finally beginning to piece together some concrete data to attempt to draw conclusions about the Pittsburgh Steelers and who they will be during the 2022 season.
With new quarterbacks, new coaches in new roles, even a new stadium name, there is plenty of change, creating an environment of even less predictability. That includes the new general manager, which could potentially introduce new variables we will have to learn to adjust to over the years when making our own projections of what decisions the team will make.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Kenny Pickett taking over at quarterback will fast-track George Pickens’ ascension into the number one receiver role.
Explanation: The two rookies connected four times in 30 minutes on Sunday for more yards than George Pickens had up to that point in the season, or at least close to it. Having begun work together in rookie minicamp, there is probably nobody Pickett has more experience working with on the roster right now.
Let’s start on the opposite end. What was the weekly conversation? Mitch Trubisky talking about how talented George Pickens was and how he needed to do more to get the rookie involved. Well, that didn’t seem to be progressing very well.
Flash forward to the second half on Sunday and Kenny Pickett is connecting on back-shoulder throws with his fellow rookie, looking like they’ve been doing this for years. We always knew the talent was there with Pickens. It’s only now starting to be unlocked because he’s being utilized more efficiently, both in terms of targets and quality of target.
Let’s slow our horses for a minute here. Nobody even said Pickens is going to be the number one receiver. That’s still Diontae Johnson, and trust me, Pickett is going to learn to love Johnson as much as anyone now that he’s in the starting lineup.
Why? Because he’s the guy that gets open. Once they get those practice reps in and build a rapport Johnson is as likely to be the primary beneficiary of Pickett’s ascension into the starting lineup as anybody, and he, too, is amply capable of making very impressive catches.
We really can’t read much of anything into usage rates based on Pickett’s first 30 minutes of play. That was all based on the Mitch Trubisky game plan and him just going out there and somewhat winging it.