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Drawing Parallel Between Jaguars And Jets Throws, Tomlin Confident In Pickett’s Poise

The best play Kenny Pickett made in his debut last Sunday was his completion to TE Pat Freiermuth, a dart down the right seam to set up Pickett’s second rushing touchdown of the day. But it wasn’t the mere throw that was impressive. Pickett stood tall in the pocket, felt star DT Quinnen Williams rush in free, and still delivered a great throw. For the NFL world, the first “wow” moment of Pickett’s career. For Mike Tomlin, it was a play he had seen before.

Sitting down with Bob Pompeani for the latest The Mike Tomlin Show, Tomlin spoke about the play Pickett made and how it reminded him of one he made earlier in the summer.

“We all saw that in the preseason,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube channel when asked to comment on the Jets’ throw. “It was a preseason play that was very reminiscent of that. I think it was in Jacksonville. Man, he stared down the barrel of the gun and connected and made the necessary throw.”

Tomlin’s referring to a preseason throw Pickett made against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A similar moment, standing tall against a free rusher and hitting Freiermuth down the seam. In that moment, he helped lead Freiermuth to the soft spot of the Jags’ zone defense for a big pickup. Shortly after the game, we compared both throws.

Plays like that show Pickett’s poise beyond his years and why, as Mike Tomlin called him today, he’s not a normal rookie. He’s 24 and spent five years in college, sharpening his leadership ability and making him more “out of the box” ready for moments like these. The Steelers will need it as they travel to Buffalo tomorrow as massive underdogs.

“He’s been consistent when given an opportunity in terms of providing those type plays,” Tomlin said. “And that’s one of the reasons why we’re excited about him leading us this week.”

While Pickett and the Steelers’ offense must play mistake-free football tomorrow, they must also be aggressive and rise to moments like Pickett did on those plays. Playing uber-conservatively and only “taking a profit” isn’t a way to pull off an upset. There’s a fine line to walk, but Pittsburgh will have to be aggressive at the right times to rip off chunk plays and compete with Buffalo’s high-powered offense. They’ll also have to deal with pressure – the Bills’ pass rush is deep and strong – and Pickett will again have to stand tall in the face of a rush.

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