Despite High Number Of Turnovers, Mike Tomlin Not ‘Overly Communicating’ Ball Security Agenda With Kenny Pickett

Coming out of the Week 7 loss on the road to the Miami Dolphins, the turnovers from rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett — especially the final two interceptions of the night — are rather painful.

Not only are some of the turnovers occurring in big spots, like at the end of the Sunday Night Football matchup against the Dolphins with the Steelers in position to win the game twice, they’re coming in games in which the Steelers aren’t producing turnovers defensively as well.

That’s going directly against the type of football Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wants to play, which is protecting the football offensively while creating turnovers defensively, leading to short fields for a young, developing offense under second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Still, despite the high number of turnovers in roughly 12 quarters of football from his rookie quarterback, Tomlin isn’t being overly communicative with Pickett regarding ball security and things of that nature right now. Instead, he’s letting his young quarterback learn through real-game experiences in the hopes that the mistakes will regress as he gains more experience in the NFL.

“I’m not. I’m not overly communicating those conversations. He’s playing and playing to win. There’s some things to be learned, but they’re not producing unusual conversations between he and I regarding that,” Tomlin stated to reporters Tuesday, according to video via the Steelers official YouTube page. “We gotta take care of the ball every week. That’s our mindset.”

That mindset will come into play once again in Week 8 against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia has just two turnovers offensively on the season and takes the football away at a high rate defensively, which has helped lead to the perfect 6-0 start.

Entering a must-win situation for the black and gold, ball security has to be at a premium for not only Pickett, but the rest of the offense as a whole. Granted, it’s at a premium every week, but this week the importance on not turning the football over, especially from the rookie quarterback, will be key if the Steelers want to have any chance at upsetting the best team in the NFL halfway through the season.

The good news is, Tomlin isn’t blowing in the wind, per se, when it comes to Pickett and his struggles. He’s not wavering on his decision to turn to the rookie even with his struggles mounting from a ball security standpoint. He’ll ride the ebbs and flows with the rookie quarterback, learning and growing in the process.

For now, nothing is too concerning for the 16th-year head coach. He’s remaining even-keeled, at least publicly, and understands there’s a growth and development process that needs to occur with any young quarterback. Maybe others should take a similar approach when it comes to Pickett early in his career.

To Top