Steelers News

James Daniels Says Kenny Pickett ‘Does Have The Ability To Change Anything’ At Line Of Scrimmage

So far as we know, Mitch Trubisky is no longer the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While we all knew that it was only a matter of time before that would be the case, it was also a part of the discussion as to whether or not he was given a full complement of tools with which to succeed.

Specifically, there was talk, sparked by the quarterback himself, about whether and when he had the authority to audible out of plays. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada seemed to acknowledge that it was at least an ongoing conversation about when they were comfortable with him audibling. It had the ears of offensive coordinators perking up as well.

It was with that background that offensive lineman James Daniels was asked about Pickett’s perceived game management during Sunday’s game, with many believing that they were observing the rookie calling audibles (although in reality he was more likely doing things like re-setting protections).

“I really don’t remember any big changes at the line”, Daniels admitted, via the team’s website. “But of course he does have the ability to change anything, and if he doesn’t like the play call, he could change it. I mean, he can do what he wants. Once we’re out there, he tells us the play or tells us which way to go, and then we’ll get it done”.

It would have been interesting to hear what Daniels had to say about Trubisky’s previous comments about his ability to audible being limited, because I have a hard time believing that the Steelers would trust Pickett more with the authority to audible than they would with a sixth-year veteran with ample starting experience.

Outside of the possibility of the accumulation of in-season experience being a factor in an overall improvement in the comfort level of the team with audibling, it would be nothing short of an indictment of the team’s belief in Trubisky’s capability of being a starting quarterback, especially from the neck up.

I suspect that’s not the case, and there are probably a couple of different things going on. The truth lies somewhere between the implications Trubisky made and Daniels’ phrasing here, as well as in the timeline in general.

It’s important to remember that audibling isn’t just about the quarterback. It’s about an 11-man unit, and everybody on the field has to be comfortable with audibling at the line of scrimmage, and there has to be comfort in the audibling mechanisms in real time. That has to be experienced in order to gain a comfort with it.

Perhaps it’s true that there is more freedom for the quarterbacks to call audibles in Week 4 than there was in Week 2. That in and of itself would not be unreasonable. What we don’t know definitively, though I would highly doubt, is whether or not Pickett had more freedom than Trubisky had on Sunday.

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