At times in the Week 7 matchup on the road against the Miami Dolphins in primetime on Sunday Night Football, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett showed signs of being that franchise quarterback that Steelers were hoping he’d be when they selected him 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Of course, those signs faded late as Pickett threw two crucial interceptions on the final two drives of the game deep in Miami territory, handing the game to the Dolphins. While it’s understandable to be a bit down on the rookie right now and concerned with his overall ball security, he’s going through the growing pains at the moment and should be better for it on the other side.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin certainly believes that, appreciating the comfort he has in big-game situations. So too, does Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who is currently preparing his undefeated Eagles to take on the rookie quarterback Sunday afternoon side Lincoln Financial Field.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday during his media availability, Sirianni praised the young quarterback in the Steel City, stating that he’s only going to get better, while also praising him for his football IQ and overall moxie for the position.
“I was a big Kenny Pickett fan. I thought he was really good football player. He did a lot of really good things [in college],” Sirianni stated to reporters, according to video via philadelphiaeagles.com. “I thought he was an accurate passer. I thought he was a quick decision maker. I thought he was a very good, underrated guy with the, with his legs, right? …I thought he was also very intelligent, as far as football intelligence, it was off the charts and I thought he was really good.
“You’re just gonna keep seeing him get better. I just think, from everything I know about him, I think he’ll continue to get better because I think he’s got a lot of tools.”
Sirianni isn’t revealing anything new with Pickett, considering what he stated Wednesday was what much of the discussion surrounding the former Pittsburgh star dealt with throughout the pre-draft process and then after the Steelers drafted him in the first round.
Pickett had a tremendous final season with the Panthers, showing serious growth each and every season while in the blue and gold under head coach Pat Narduzzi. Early on in his Steelers career he’s hit a bit of a speed bump or two, but continues to show signs of being “the guy” in Pittsburgh moving forward.
Sunday night’s performance was rather rough overall from Pickett, especially the two interceptions in the fourth quarter. Fact of the matter though is it’s a transitional year for the Steelers, one that’s not really going anywhere, as far as the playoffs go. Allowing him to learn on the job, make those mistakes now and grow from them, will only benefit him in the long run.
He’s going to keep getting better, much like Sirianni stated, because the tools are there, especially above the neck. It’s a bit frustrating now to deal with the losing and the frustration, but as I keep on saying: short-term pain for long-term gain.