‘A Different Team:’ Kenny Pickett Says Steelers’ Offense Is Further Along This Year Compared To 2022

What a difference a year makes. This time one year ago, Kenny Pickett was just trying to learn everybody’s name. He was the rookie, in his first full-team practice after a quick rookie minicamp, and battling for a role, whatever that would be. Fast forward to today and it’s his team. He’s the starter, he’s in charge. But he’s not the only one in a different spot. Top to bottom, the Steelers’ offense is more experienced and benefitted from the growing pains endured a season ago.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s OTA practice, Pickett said he can see and feel how much better this offense is compared to a year ago.

“I went back and watched our last year’s first OTA,” Pickett said via “It’s a different team, honestly, not just player wise, but in terms of plays and how much we have in already. It’s a credit to the coaching staff for being here, working hard and guys showing up when they don’t have to be.”

The 2022 year was a transitional one for the Steelers, exiting the Ben Roethlisberger era and looking for their first new starting quarterback since 2004. Pittsburgh was the NFL’s youngest offense a year ago and it showed. There was no clear identity of way the team was going to win, multiple players admitted to that, and at the bye week, the Steelers looked like one of the worst teams in football.

Things got better on the other side of the bye and the offense found better footing, helping Pittsburgh go 7-2 down the stretch. Pickett himself improved, throwing just one interception from Week Ten on and leading clutch game-winning drives down the stretch.

Still, Pittsburgh’s offense averaged a paltry 18.4 points per game, and even after the bye, that number only sat at just over 20. There’s work to be done with this unit and with most of it intact or getting better, improving the o-line and skill positions, expectations are raised heading into 2023. For Pickett, being ahead of where they were a year ago is crucial.

“To go out there and put six installs in, or five installs, wherever we’re at right now, where we were only really at one or two at this time last year,” he said. “Everyone was working hard and it was a good day.”

Last year was Mitch Trubisky’s first reps in a Steelers uniform. As it was for names like center Mason Cole and right guard James Daniels. There’s new players this year, wide receiver Allen Robinson II, tight end Darnell Washington, and left guard Isaac Seumalo among them, but not at those critical positions.

All of that is to say Pittsburgh’s offense is hitting the ground running, a night and day difference compared to a season ago. They’re in a better place than they were a year ago, which will serve true the rest of OTAs and into training camp. And that will hopefully create a smoother start to the season than what the team experienced in 2022.

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