Getting frustrated is a natural human reaction. Whether it be from stresses at work, marital problems or even your fantasy football league losses piling up, the emotion of frustration is a natural one. For Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, the losses continue to pile up, despite him actually showing a willingness to put the ball downfield. Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada’s firing continues to be on every fans’ early Christmas wish list, but he still remains, and still seems to be the boot on the tire of the Steelers offense, preventing it from reaching its full potential.
For Pickett, the team’s QB of the future, and one whom they drafted in the first round this past April, the stats aren’t pretty, with two touchdowns against seven interceptions since taking over for an ineffective Mitch Trubisky in the second half against the Jets in week four. However, many of those picks are indeed not his fault, as the balls have been hitting receivers right in the hands, but instead of making the catch, they knock the ball into the air. Or in last Sunday’s loss to Miami, the receiver stumbles in their route, like Chase Claypool did. It doesn’t matter though, because the QB is the face of the offense, and teams live by their QB play, and also die by it.
Earlier today via an official team transcript, Pickett was asked about the possibility of frustration mounting with each loss getting in the way with his learning about playing QB in the NFL on-the-fly, and his answer was as we’d expect.
“Any player, any sport, if you’re pressing to make plays, if you’re pressing to do things, only really bad things happen,” Pickett said. “I felt like I kept the game simple and went out there and tried to compete but not over compete and force things and tried to give our guys a chance to make plays.”
Making plays is obviously the name of the game when it comes to life in the NFL, but they’ve been extremely hard to come by for the average viewer of the team’s offense thus far. Oftentimes a nice Najee Harris run is negated by holding, followed by a bubble screen to a wide receiver five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Simply put, the proposed frustration simply cannot be laid directly at the feet of Pickett, and it’s several layers deeper than that.
“Like I said, it’s a balancing act and I feel like we’re doing a good job, but then we have to get better at it.”
Pickett would never come out and say Canada is the problem, but I have no qualms writing that I do in this post. The writing seems to be on the wall for him, much like his OC predecessors like Bruce Arians, Todd Haley, Randy Fichtner, and it remains to be seen how much more Tomlin and the front office can take. For the time being though, the offense is a definite work in progress, and it won’t get any easier with the undefeated Eagles on tap Sunday.