Sunday night’s primetime game ended on a sour note for the Pittsburgh Steelers, with fan-favorite rookie quarterback throwing a game-sealing interception instead of the potential game-winning touchdown in the closing moments.
It was a gut punch to those who watched, especially because it finally looked as though the offense was moving and operating as it needed to at that point in the game, the momentum in their favor and the team within striking distance of pulling out a comeback victory.
While they fell short, however, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin still saw plenty to like out of his first-round draft pick. The result needs to change, but in terms of how he conducted himself and his play-to-play showing, Pickett apparently passes his eye test.
“He is a fish in water. It’s a natural act for him. He’s a competitor”, Tomlin said via the team’s site, the ‘water’ being a highly competitive environment. “He’s got a thirst for it. It’s been fun being in those circumstances. Obviously, we want the outcomes to be different. But to communicate with him professionally and to watch him operate, to watch his demeanor, to watch his approach to those circumstances is exciting and refreshing”.
In other words, what his head coach is saying is that Pickett feels comfortable rather than anxious when placed in a high-stakes position that requires him to rise up and perform at a high level. Inevitably, you’re not going to succeed in every one of those scenarios, as Tomlin knows, so he’s not getting overly worked up about the specifics of Sunday’s result.
Of course, he was also saying how much of a competitor Mitch Trubisky was—and to his credit, he certainly looked the part the game before last in securing the team’s second victory of the season over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Competitiveness is a great, arguably even essential trait to possess at the NFL level. But it alone isn’t going to win you games. It also takes talent, and Pickett certainly has that, but there’s so much more as well.
Part of it is just experience, learning from your mistakes. The more you see, the more you go through, the more you can learn from. Some need to learn in this fashion more than others. We’re still figuring out exactly who Pickett is, and so are the Steelers, but we are still seeing a lot of good even mixed in with the bad.