The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time since week one. In week one, the Steelers started Mitch Trubisky, but now they will be starting Kenny Pickett.
In his weekly press conference, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked if there were any drastic changes to the Steelers’ offense since their quarterback change.
“I don’t think anything drastic” Taylor said. “You know, I think he’s, he’s made some good decisions. He can be really accurate with the ball. Made some big plays with his feet the other day as well. He’s a really good athlete.”
Pickett’s introduction to the Steelers offense was met with a lot of fanfare after the offense got off to a slow start with Trubisky at the helm. However, with Pickett as the signal caller there has not been much of a jump in productivity. The Steelers have still yet to break 20 points on offense and are only averaging 1.3 touchdowns per game.
Part of the reason for the offense looking similar is that nothing really changed schematically. Pickett is not a drastic change style wise from Trubisky like Trubisky was from Ben Roethlisberger. Both Trubisky and Pickett are athletic quarterbacks and the Steelers have loved using designed rollouts with them. The biggest difference may be that Pickett is a bit more accurate.
However, despite the lack of production and change from the Steelers offense, Taylor still heaped praise on Pickett and the Pittsburgh offense.
“[Pickett’s] a rookie who’s got a lot of talent. I think he’s doing a good job managing that offense. They got a lot of play makers around him as well that they do a good job utilizing.”
Entering the season the skill position players for Pittsburgh looked to be a strength for the team, but with subpar quarterback play and below-average at best offensive scheme, the skill players like Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and George Pickens have struggled to produce.
However, in Sunday’s win against the New Orleans Saints Pickens had a really good game and Harris had his best game of the season. In addition to those two skill players producing, offensive coordinator Matt Canada called and schemed his best game of the season, which Alex Kozora broke down today.
Taylor knows the Steelers have talent and his Bengals team can’t take them likely if they want to defend their crown as AFC champions. At 5-4 they are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs. Despite the lack of production for the Steelers offense, they are on the upswing, and it is probably only a matter of time before Pickett has his first big game. There would be no better time for it to happen than against the Bengals and make a big dent in their playoff hopes.