Despite Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett’s concussion on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins are preparing to face the rookie quarterback and all the challenges he brings.
In his weekly press conference transcribed by the team, Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Josh Boyer addressed the play of the Steelers’ starter and what he has emphasized to his defense in this week of practice.
“Yeah, so [Pickett’s] obviously very athletic,” Boyer said. “I mean he can drive the intermediate throws, he can get the ball down the field, he can definitely scramble to run or scramble to throw. He’s making quick decisions for them.”
It is clear that Pickett athleticism brings something new to the Steelers’ offensive dynamic. In the later years of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, his mobility waned on him, leading to opponents not having to play contain on him. However Pickett has shown a few times this season that if he is not being watched carefully he has no problem scrambling to pick up some yards. A great example of this was on the first drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he scrambled for ten yards on a 3rd and 11. This set up a fourth down conversion and then a touchdown a few plays later.
Pickett’s dual-threat ability was something that attracted the Steelers to him. It was known that head coach Mike Tomlin wanted a quarterback who was comfortable using his legs to his advantage. With the NFL being a quickly evolving league, the importance of staying with the times is vitally important. The top quarterbacks in the league are all more than capable of using their legs to move their team up the field.
Yet, despite Pickett’s ability to use his legs, that is not his best trait. In fact, his best trait is his ability to accurately throw the football. While he does not have the biggest arm, he can pinpoint passes to his receivers in most areas of the field. This, plus his legs, makes him a very dangerous quarterback to game plan against.
Boyer mentioned Pickett’s quick decision-making as well. Pickett, while still making some mistakes that a typical rookie may make, rarely overthinks and throws a ball into double coverage or takes a bad sack. Pickett goes through his reads very quickly, making it harder for the defense to get to him for a sack.
While it is not a sure thing that Kenny Pickett suits up this weekend as he still needs to go through concussion protocol, the Dolphins will be ready for him. The question is, can Matt Canada use Pickett’s abilities to beat a Dolphins team that is battling some injuries on the defensive front?