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Mike Tomlin ‘Not Going To Saddle’ Kenny Pickett With ‘Overused’ Franchise QB Cliche

Too often in the world of football, when it comes to the quarterback position the label of franchise QB and subsequent questions of “is he or isn’t he a franchise QB?” gets thrown around.

After watching Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett battle his way through the ups and downs of his first season in the NFL, which featured 13 games, 12 starts (7-5 record as a starter) and four game-winning/fourth-quarter comebacks, that question is popping up with Pickett again.

Is he the franchise quarterback this franchise hopes he is?

For head coach Mike Tomlin, he’s not even sure what the exact definition of a “Franchise QB” is, nor is he willing to saddle Pickett with that overused term just 13 games into his career.

Speaking with reporters Monday in his season-ending press conference, Tomlin said he’s not going to saddle Pickett with that “overused” label, but stated unequivocally that Pickett is QB1 for the black and gold.

“You know, I don’t know what you guys mean by franchise quarterback. Is he our QB1? Yes,” Tomlin stated, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “But there’s a lot of silly responsibility that comes with that term. Everybody thinks they’ve got one, but not everybody has one and all of that. He’s our starting quarterback.

“I’m not going to saddle him with that cliche that’s overused in our game, in our business too much these days.”

While it might be an overused cliche in the game of football today, it doesn’t take away from the importance that is the quarterback position. To be a true contender in the NFL, a team needs a top 5-10 quarterback overall. That’s largely where the “franchise QB” label comes from.

Teams are endlessly searching for that answer at quarterback until they find one.

Though he’s just 13 games into his career and the numbers don’t look all that great, it certainly feels like the Steelers have the right guy for the job moving forward, based on his leadership, moxie and overall confidence, even in weighty, pressure-packed moments. Nothing ever feels too big for him, and he has an unwavering confidence that he can get the job done.

That rubs off on his teammates and has guys rallying behind him.

It’s very clear the Steelers have their QB1 for the foreseeable future. Will he be able to ascend into that “franchise QB” tier, one that gives them a chance to win no matter the opponent every time they step between the white lines? That remains to be seen. The progress down the stretch was impressive though, and he certainly seems to be on the right track overall.

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