Why were the Pittsburgh Steelers afraid to play rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett over Mitch Trubisky? Please don’t hurt the messenger.
UPDATE: The Steelers replaced Trubisky with Pickett, finally! But here’s why Tomlin was patient.
Pittsburgh’s offense struggled early against the New York Jets in their Week 4 tilt — what else is new — and yet Mike Tomlin still refuses to give the rookie Pickett a chance.
Pickett, a Pitt product, surely wouldn’t be much worse than Mitch Trubisky. The Steelers offense is among the worst in football, but perhaps that is why Tomlin wants to be careful with his first-round pick.
The 24-year-old Pickett was considered the most pro-ready quarterback heading into the NFL Draft. He played well in the preseason, and was named the backup heading into the year.
Why won’t Steelers give Kenny Pickett a chance?
Playing Pickett early could hurt his confidence, especially if the offense doesn’t fit his needs. Matt Canada hasn’t adapted his system to the NFL level, and two quarterbacks have now struggled to move the football under his tutelage. Something has to give.
Pittsburgh has a young offensive line, as well, and a lame duck offensive coordinator in Canada. As great as Pickett may be in the years to come, Tomlin doesn’t want to take the training wheels off before he’s ready.
The Steelers upcoming schedule is also very tough. If Pickett doesn’t play against the Jets, when would be the correct time to start him?
Next week is at the Bills, followed by matchups against the Buccaneers and Dolphins. By no means is that an easy slate for Pickett to step in for his first career start.
Playing it safe with Pickett is a luxury the Steelers don’t currently have if they hope to save their season, but Tomlin seems to be betting on Pickett’s long-term future over the team’s present goal of winning football games.