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Reps Changing For Kenny Pickett, Not His Approach

On the surface, it might sound like Kenny Pickett’s world has changed since Sunday afternoon. Elevated from backup to starter on his way to making his first career start this weekend against the Buffalo Bills. For the ever-steady Pickett, the only thing that’s changed is the number of practice snaps he gets. Everything else remains the same.

“I try to keep it all the same,” Pickett told reporters via The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “I think the only thing that’s different is obviously getting reps. I got into a really good routine talking with [QBs Coach Mike Sullivan] in the preseason and during the regular season about having a good routine and preparation when the time comes. I really don’t change in terms of that. Only the reps change. I feel good with where I’m at right now.”

Pickett will make his first career start on the road this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, a tough matchup by any metric. This time a week ago, he served as the team’s #2 quarterback behind veteran Mitch Trubisky. But after Trubisky and the Steelers’ offense again faltered in the first half against the New York Jets, putting up only six field goals in the first 30 minutes of play. Trubisky was pulled in favor of Pickett, who sparked the offense to a pair of second-half touchdowns.

Even before he was drafted, Pickett was lauded for his composure and unflappable nature. Most first round quarterbacks are younger, underclassmen who leave school early to capitalize on their draft stock and NFL contract. Pickett chose to return for his senior season in 2021, a wise decision. He broke out for a career year while leading Pitt to an 11-win season. In a comparatively weak 2022 draft class, Pickett was the first name off the board, taken 20th overall by the Steelers as their future franchise quarterback. The future is here now with Pickett usurping Trubisky, officially named the team’s starter yesterday.

While Pickett’s approach remains the same, he understands the change in reps is meaningful to his and the offense’s preparation.

“Going from no reps to now getting reps. Haven’t had a lot of time with these guys so this is real valuable time for me and for them. For all of us to get on the same page.”

Pittsburgh will need to be on the same page all Sunday if they want to upset the Bills, who come into the game with a top-five defense and 14-point favorites.

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