2022 South Side Questions: How Will Kenny Pickett Look In First Game Back From Concussion?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, nearing the end of the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the year. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: How will Kenny Pickett look in his first game back from his second concussion?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a big game today, in more ways than one. Most pragmatically, it’s a must-win game just to keep their postseason hopes alive. Probably the most important game for them to track before they kick off is the Cincinnati Bengals versus the New England Patriots, which they really need to hope Joe Burrow and company find a way to win.

Of course, that’s not something that’s in their control. They can only affect what happens in their own games in pursuit of victory. They are getting their starting quarterback for this one after rookie Kenny Pickett missed last week’s outing due to a concussion. How will he look in his first game back?

The first-round pick looked better in the second half of the year in his four full games after the bye. Scoring picked up a bit, and turnovers became non-existent. There were clearly areas in which he still has to improve, however.

The big question is, can he pick up where he left off? The Steelers had been moving the ball down the field pretty well overall, extending drives, and maintaining possession. They still need to work on finishing drives, but they can’t afford to slide backward.

A lot of quarterbacks tend to struggle after returning from a concussion. You can just look at Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers in his first games played after a concussion. For what it’s worth, Pickett did throw three interceptions against the Miami Dolphins after his first concussion this year.

The offense hasn’t relied as much on the passing game since the bye week, however, and they’re likely going to try to lean pretty heavily on Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren in the backfield, with the offensive line continuing to grow into a more competent run-blocking front.

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