Last season, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett was thrown into the deep end of the pool and had to sink or swim.
Pittsburgh was 1-2 and in a slugfest of a game with the New York Jets at home in Week 4, when Pickett came off the bench at halftime in relief of Mitch Trubisky, who was benched for the 2022 first-round pick. Pickett sparked the offense on a couple of scoring drives but threw three INTs in a losing effort. Pickett would struggle to find his footing until after the bye when he and the Steelers found their groove, going on a 7-2 run down the stretch to finish with a winning season and a near playoff berth.
Speaking to the media after the first day of OTAs, Pickett was asked about Pittsburgh’s additions on the offensive side of the football and what that specifically means for him and the offense as a whole heading into the 2023 season. Pickett recognizes the talent that has been brought in this offseason, but now it’s time to put it all together as a team and take that leap as an offense.
“We got the guys, we gotta go execute,” Pickett said to the media Tuesday via video from Steelers.com. “That’s how football is. At some point, it’s players, not plays. We gotta step up and make plays. Guys are working, guys are showing up with great attitudes and with one goal in mind. So, it’s good to see, it’s fun to be around and compete against the great defense that we have.”
The Steelers have left no stone unturned when it comes to giving Pickett help this offseason. They overhauled their offensive line, signing OGs Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig as well as selecting OT Broderick Jones in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. They acquired WR Allen Robinson II from the Los Angeles Rams to add an experienced veteran into the mix. They also drafted TE Darnell Washington to improve Pittsburgh’s running game as well as provide Pickett a gigantic target over the middle of the field and in the red zone.
Couple this with the strides the running game took down the stretch last season as well as the passing game weapons he already has in Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth, and Pickett and the offense are ready to roll in 2023 compared to last season when it looked like their offense was trudging through the mud.
Still, Pickett understands that all these names added into the fold this offseason doesn’t mean anything if they don’t execute on the field and put points on the board. The Steelers struggled to do that for a majority of the 2022 season. While the roster is much improved than the one that took the field a year ago, the offense still needs to develop that chemistry and make the necessary plays in games to take the leap that is expected of it in 2023.