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Najee Harris Defends Pickett INT: ‘The Best Way To Learn Is To Make Mistakes’

The Pittsburgh Steelers took the practice field Friday prior to for their last preparations before traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills this Sunday on the road.

RB Najee Harris spoke in the media in the locker room Friday afternoon, talking about the current state of the team as they sit at 1-3 and the importance to stay confident in one another as they attempt to battle back into the thick of things in the coming weeks.

Harris was also asked about QB Kenny Pickett and how he handled himself coming in at the half for Mitch Trubisky who was benched in favor of the rookie QB.

“He wasn’t shy at all,” Harris said to the media Friday on video from the Steelers.com. “I mean, he embraced it all. Like I said before, he embraced what it was. He came to me and said, ‘Man, I wish I didn’t throw that, that last pick up from Pat.’ I was like, ‘Man, it’s all good, but like, you have to learn somehow.’ And sometimes the best way to learn is through mistakes. So, I said, ‘Just shake it off and let’s go next game,’ you know? And that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Pickett talked about his leadership style yesterday to the media, stating that he doesn’t want to be too high or too low to weather the storms and be the presence his teammates need in the huddle to lead the offense. Harris recognized that leadership style in his first regular season action of his career last week against the Jets, coming in and embraced the role he was in as the starting QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pickett did do some good things during his time playing in the second half. He posted a 77% completion percentage and rushed for two TDs, showing chemistry with TE Pat Freiermuth and WR George Pickens. However, all three of his incompletions in the game resulted in INTs, one coming on a Hail Mary heave at the end of the game and the other two coming on tipped balls into the air, one intended for Chase Claypool and the other for Freiermuth.

Freiermuth mentioned after the game that he was to blame for the INT, not Pickett who gave him a chance to make a play. While Pickett mentioned after the game that he should’ve thrown that pass away, Najee Harris also defended his QB just like Freiermuth did, calling it a learning experience. While throwing picks is never a good thing as a QB, Pickett’s first two INTs came on plays where he put the ball in-position for his receiver to make a play. In both cases, Claypool and Freiermuth were in-position to make the catch, but both couldn’t finish the play as the pass got tipped and intercepted.

Ultimately, you want to have a QB that is willing to trust his weapons to make a play down the field rather than having to see every throw before you make it. That’s what made Ben Roethlisberger great over the years and Pickett has shown a willingness to trust his receivers as well in a small sample size. He does need to improve aspects like ball placement and overall decision making, but Harris and the other Steelers’ skill position players see the promise of a young QB who has the confidence in himself and his playmakers to make plays in hopes of jumpstarting his offense in the coming weeks.

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