Here’s Cam Heyward’s checklist of players who should get into scrums.
1. The big guys. The linemen.
2. No one else.
While many fans loved seeing Kenny Pickett get into Bills DE Shaq Lawson’s face after a low hit Sunday, Heyward says to leave that to the guys up front.
“Kenny, get the hell out of the way,” Heyward said with a smile on his latest episode of Not Just Football. “I think Coach T always says it best. The quarterbacks, the running backs, they’re carrying our hopes and dreams. Man, Kenny, we don’t need you trying to fight any defensive linemen. That’s what those big boys are for.”
The play occurred late in the Steelers’ blowout loss, a short time after Pickett took a hard hit on a slide that led to a scrum along the Bills’ sideline. Flushed to his right, Pickett was hit in the knee by Lawson as he fired the ball away. Fortunately, Pickett was uninjured but could’ve been seriously hurt and took issue with Lawson’s tackle attempt. Pickett got up and shoved Lawson, leading to another skirmish between both sides.
Pickett would say after the game he was past the hit and moment.
“Tempers flare. I don’t care, I’m gonna keep playing ‘til the last play of the game, and that was it. So, all good with me”.
Pickett finished the day going 34/52, the first Steelers’ quarterback with more than 40 throws in a first start, much less 50, with zero touchdowns and one interception in the loss. Pickett is still looking for his first passing touchdown of the season. In fact, Pittsburgh has just two passing scores all season, the fewest in the league, even behind the Chicago Bears, who have three. No Steelers’ wide receiver has found the end zone this year, the first time that’s happened since 1990. If it goes another game, it’ll be the first such season since the mid-60s.
Heyward didn’t disagree with the nature of the hit but said there’s a better way for a quarterback to handle it.
“It was definitely a low hit. You can’t do that in this game. Yeah, you can be pissed off about it, you better talk to the ref about it, get it called. But nah, we can’t have Kenny in those scrums. That’s not what we need right now.”
All of that is fair and true but it’s hard not to love Pickett’s fight. For a team getting its doors blown off, their worst loss in over 30 years, it’s good to see a rookie quarterback not back down. To show some fire, a lot of fight, all the way to the bitter end of a loss. It’s a rallying signal for the team to follow. Even though he’s just a rookie, teams follow the lead of their quarterback. While the jury remains out on Pickett’s career, his leadership is already obvious.
Check out the latest episode of Heyward’s podcast below.