As rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett looks to lead the team to a win coming out of their bye week, he realizes nothing will come easy against the New Orleans Saints, who feature a pretty talented group on the defensive side of the ball, despite their 3-6 record.
Coming off a 27-13 drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens Monday night, the team will be eager to show the 188 yards rushing they gave up to Lamar Jackson and company was a fluke, and with the star power they have, coupled with the run game woes of Pittsburgh, this could be a recipe for disaster if the team doesn’t come to play.
“They’re a talented group, a veteran group up front ,obviously, with Cam Jordan, he’s a really good, legendary player,” Pickett said via an official team transcript earlier today. “Long corners on the outside. They’ve got problems on all three levels. The two linebackers are obviously really good too,” he said, referencing multi-time All-Pro DeMario Davis and second-year tackling machine Pete Werner.
In years past, the team had been known league-wide for a penchant of creating turnovers, and although they haven’t been there as much this season, the unit is more than capable of wrecking Pittsburgh’s gameplan come Sunday. And one player in particular sticks out like a sore thumb to Pickett, one in which he’s been watching film on since his high school days.
A quarterback at Ocean Township High School in Ocean County, N.J., Pickett played both ways, some at linebacker and some at safety. And come Sunday, he’ll come face-to-face with someone he’s been watching film of for a long time in Saints Pro Bowler Tyrann Mathieu.
“I played both ways in high school, I would watch a Tyrann Mathieu tape before high school games. So it’ll be cool going against him. Great instinctive player.”
In a way, it will likely be a very surreal moment for Pickett come Sunday, as he’s playing against one of his earliest idols in the “Honey Badger”, a player who many fans were clamoring for the front office to go out and sign earlier this offseason. Clearly, that never happened, and now Mathieu is the enemy, and a clear player who sticks out to Pickett, among many, on that defense.
“They’ve got problems on all three levels that we’re going to have to figure out how we can try and execute some plays.”