After the game Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth was one of several players who commended rookie QB Kenny Pickett for his performance in the second half of the game, stating that he gave the offense a much-needed spark after a stagnant first half of action.
Just a day later, the second-year TE dapped up his QB again for his poise in the pocket even with pressure right in his face.
“Ya, he’s a gamer,” Freiermuth said regarding Pickett Monday in the locker room to the media on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “He’s tough and he kind of showed that on that play.”
Freiermuth was referencing the play where Pickett got drilled by DT #95 Quinnen Williams, where the defender came unblocked into the backfield and smacked Pickett as he released the ball over the middle, which was completed to Freiermuth to set up Pittsburgh with first and goal. Pickett got helped off the ground and noticeably got into a verbal exchange with Williams after the play, smiling and laughing after completing the pass under pressure.
Pickett said after the game when asked about the hit from Williams that him getting up and showing the moxie he did didn’t mean he was tough, but rather that he was simply meeting the job description of what a starting NFL QB is asked to do in terms of standing in the pocket and making throws. Still, Freiermuth commends Pickett for his composure literally in the face of adversity with a 300+ lb. man coming down on him.
Kenny Pickett showed continual improvement during the preseason with every game he played, having the calm demeanor to command the huddle in the two-minute offense as Pittsburgh completed two separate drives, with one in the final moments against the Seahawks and the other right before the half against the Jaguars. Pickett led the offense down the field and into the end zone on both drives, showcasing poise and accuracy when the clock was ticking.
These are the attributes that you want to see in your future franchise QB, and combined with the mindset of being willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit to make a throw, Pickett appears to be ready to step in as the Steelers’ starting QB moving forward in the 2022 season.