Two Minute Drill In Practice Was Moment Heyward Started To Feel Good About Pickett: ‘You Could Just Sense The Leadership’

While Kenny Pickett wasn’t inserted as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback until Week 4 and didn’t really start excelling until the second half of the season, one aspect of his game that’s always stood out is his leadership. During an appearance on the PM Team With Poni and Mueller on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward said he knew Pickett had arrived during a two-minute drill session during practice.

“I’ll never forget a two-minute drive we had during practice one time. I’m like ‘ok, they’re moving the drive’ in practice. But we got ‘em at like, a fourth down, and I can’t even remember who caught it. But you could just sense the leadership he had in getting everybody and just being a conductor and moving things down the field. It’s those moments,” Heyward said.

Pickett showed off his ability to lead a team down the field in the final two minutes in Week 16 and Week 17 wins over the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. Outside linebacker T.J. Watt said last week the win over the Ravens was the moment he knew Pickett was the right guy for the Steelers, but Heyward seemingly had that realization earlier. He also said that the amount of film study Pickett had early in the season even when he wasn’t playing was an early sign. He also said that some of the questions Pickett would ask showed his improving ability.

“When you start to see those moments, you start to see he’s starting to click.”

It was clear early that Pickett’s leadership was going to be one of his better traits. In the preseason, wide receiver Diontae Johnson praised the way Pickett commands the huddle, while early in the season Pickett himself touched on the importance of taking charge when running the offense.

Being clutch is one of the most important things a quarterback needs to do, and the early returns from Pickett have been promising. You can take a quarterback with all the physical ability and talent in the world, but if he can’t drive his team down the field late in games with them trailing, he won’t be long for the NFL. You need a guy who can step up when the game is on the line, and Pickett has shown that ability.

It’s one of the things that makes me confident about his future with Pittsburgh. His ability to win close games and drive his team down the field late in games, needing a win gives me confidence in his ability to eventually lead this team to a deep playoff run. There’s a lot about his game that needs to be better, particularly when it comes to making throws down the field and not being afraid to push the ball, but there was also a lot to like about Pickett in Year One. But his clutch gene is probably the aspect of his game that makes me most excited about his ability to play and stick in the NFL.

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