KP8 Will Be Just Fine


Austin Lenhardt-Barley, Staff Writer

Kenny Pickett definitely had his ups and downs as quarterback this year but nothing out of the ordinary for a rookie quarterback. The former Pitt quarterback coming out of college was thought to be a top-ten pick but obviously the NFL thought otherwise. Kenny dropped to the Steelers pick at 20, but Kenny wasn’t the set starter once he was drafted. He actually was third string under Mason Rudolph to start camp. Head Coach Mike Tomlin obviously thought Kenny needed to sit behind Mitchell Tribusky before throwing the young rookie into his first NFL game. Steeler Nation disagreed and for good reason as Mitchell Trubisky had been a backup for the Bills and before a mediocre at best quarterback for the Chicago Bears.  

The Steelers played the New York Jets in week 4 of the NFL season. The Steelers were struggling to put points on the board only scoring 6 in the first half. Tomlin had to make a choice and with the Steelers offense struggling to put the ball in the endzone. During halftime, Mike Tomlin moved to the young gun rookie quarterback. Fans had been blaming starter Mitch Trubisky for the poor Steelers offense for the first 3 weeks, and finally they got what they wanted. Being there firsthand was crazy—hearing the roaring of “Kenny, Kenny, Kenny” over and over after the offense would struggle. Every incomplete pass thrown, every short throw, and after the interception, the fans called for Kenny. Kenny came in and in one of his first throws went deep and right of the hands of former Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool into a surrounding Jets lap. Kenny brought a spark; it was almost like his surrounding teammates wanted to play for Pickett. Kenny ended up throwing for 120 yards with 3 picks and 0 touchdowns. He ran 2 touchdowns in and lit a fire under the Steelers but it wasn’t long until the inexperience came back to bite him. Kenny was shaky throwing the ball and making decisions but this is expected in a first NFL start. The Steelers came up short losing 24-20 but this was just the start of what was to come with Kenny Pickett.

 Kenny struggled in his first NFL start against the red-hot Bills getting blown out 38-3. Kenny would have his ups and downs over the rest of the season. He ended the season off with more interceptions than touchdowns. Kenny played in 13 games and 12 of them ended up being starts. Kenny went 7-5 during those games starting 1-3 at the start of the season. Then came the bye week and it all changed Kenny would end up leading 3 4th quarter comebacks after the bye. In his final 8 starts, he threw 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Kenny settled into the league nicely and quickly fixed his problem with forcing passes to his receivers. The offense got much better after the bye and Kenny has proven he has that clutch gene to keep them in football games. Pickett showed a lot of improvement and with a new offensive coordinator and possibly another weapon from the draft or free agency Kenny can easily become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The outlook is good for the young Steelers offense that will only get better with time.