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Steelers’ Insider Absolutely Believes Team Is Sacrificing Wins By Not Benching Kenny Pickett For Week 12

Michael Longo / USA Today Network

Steelers’ Insider Absolutely Believes Team Is Sacrificing Wins By Not Benching Kenny Pickett For Week 12

Pittsburgh-Post Gazette writer, Gerry Dulac, said in his weekly chat, the Pittsburgh Steelers are making a mistake in not benching rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett. Dulac stated that Head Coach Mike Tomlin is sacrificing winning to develop the young QB:

“You’re compromising what you believe in – winning a game, no matter what – at the expense of developing your No. 1 pick. Wrong method, wrong messages to veterans. The whole season changed with his decision at halftime of the Jets game. Shame shame.”

Steelers Kenny Pickett

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

He believes Pickett should sit behind a veteran to learn the position. However, Dulac’s opinion is outdated. This isn’t the football of the past where defense alone wins championships and quarterbacks learn just by watching the game. Young quarterbacks need time to develop, which has to happen partly on the field. 

 

It’s Pickett Szn for the Steelers 

When Tomlin made the decision to bench Mitch Trubisky halfway through the Jets game, the Kenny Pickett era began. Data shows about half of all first-round quarterbacks fail. Additionally, some studies show that it is ideal to sit behind a vet. For example, Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe. However, benching a QB, that is showing promise, can be damaging to their development. 

Pickett’s opportunity wasn’t behind a top-tier QB, like Brady. It was behind Mason Rudolph or Trubisky and neither is considered elite. It left Tomlin with a decision – put his eggs in the Pickett basket and allow this young offense to grow together, or start Trubisky. 

Tomlin is lying in his proverbial bed and there is nothing wrong with that. The fate of the Steelers in the hands of Trubisky or Rudolph was not better, they did nothing to instill confidence in the team or fans. 

The Steelers are not going to the Super Bowl this season and might be having Tomlin’s first losing season. It is not what anyone wants, but it is necessary, with growth comes some pain. The Steelers can continue to refuse to use the word “rebuild” but that is exactly what this is. 

Pickett will not be the first newly drafted NFL quarterback to start and struggle. The comparison to Peyton Manning has been made often and is valid. It doesn’t mean that they play the same way, but their first-year stats are similar, giving fans hope. Manning started immediately in Indy, that year the Colts were 3-13 and Manning threw 28 interceptions. Coach Jim Mora Sr. allowed Manning to develop. He encouraged him and built his confidence. 

Steelers Kenny Pickett

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

Pickett looks poised and confident. He does not appear to be shaken. According to PFF, Pickett has been the best QB under pressure this season. Tomlin said that he sees Pickett growing and improving in all areas:

“…it’s moving in the direction that we’d like it to. Sure, could it move faster? Absolutely, I don’t think anybody is patient, including Kenny. This is not a patient man’s business. You work while you wait. And that’s what he, and we, are doing, but he’s doing a nice job in general.”

Pickett is not the only Steelers concern. The play calling from offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, has come under fire. Canada has been criticized for not making the adjustments necessary for success and has helped set Pickett, up for failure. After halftime, Week 11, the Steelers were unable to capitalize on opportunities and ground to a halt on 3rd down, losing any momentum. 

The Steelers have one of the youngest offenses in the NFL and this is a rare chance for this group to grow together. Tomlin and the Steelers need to stay the course and treat Pickett as the QB of the future.

 

What do you think about Dulac’s statements? Click to comment below. 

#SteelerNation

Hi! I am LeeAnn. I am from Pittsburgh originally and my dad had some ties to the Steelers. I grew up literally bleeding black and gold. Despite having moved around quite a bit I love to travel to see my Pittsburgh teams play and try to attend games as often as I can. I never get sick of writing articles about the Steelers or talking about them in my podcast. #HereWeGo

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. C Todd Godlewski

    November 24, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    I believe playing Pickett is the best approach. You must find out and evaluate what you have heading into next years draft. You can’t do that with him relaying in signs for Trubisky or Rudolph. If there aren’t signs of improvement week to week, you’ll know that you may have to draft another QB. If he does show signs of improvement then you start putting pieces around him. It may be painful to watch, but I believe the Steelers are doing what’s best. You can’t compare his play to other first year starters because every team has different lineman, receivers, and defenses. Stay the course!

  2. Joe

    November 25, 2022 at 12:01 am

    He’s definitely not an insider he’s just an outsider with an opinion.

  3. Andrew Langan

    November 25, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    Maybe they went to him too early, but it wasn’t as if Trubisky was setting the world on fire with his play! At this point, you sit back and allow him to keep learning on the job, pulling him would make no sense.

  4. David

    November 26, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    Trubisky wasn’t playing like he was there to win a job; he was playing very “Cutler-like”. I blame a lot of the offensive struggles on CanaDUH. We need a left tackle in the draft for sure as well as a corner or two. Also, we need possibly 2 middle linebackers because anytime any team is trailing the Steelers they work the middle or dump it off to a back-up running back for a first down(3 touchdowns on dump offs to the same back up running back with no Mixon or Chase as a threat). This team has a lot more issues than a rookie qb.

  5. D. J.

    November 26, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    According to previous columns in this newspaper, Mitch T was hamstrung by Canada because he was not allowed to audible when he saw the need. A travesty if the writers were accurate in their descriptions. KP could still have learned by watching….Perhaps a lot could be gained by switching off now and again and freeing the veteran to do what he feels needs to be done. Just a thought.

  6. Linda Cocuzzi Richter

    November 26, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    I agree with a couple other comments. Andrew Langham said maybe they pulled Trubisky too soon but they can’t switch back. Stick with Kenny and let his confidence grow and spread throughout the team. It feels different for everyone who played with Ben before. And I agree with David who suggested the running back. Wouldn’t that be someone who could block for Najee? Like Franco/Bleier? So the rushing game develops too.

  7. Gejuan Cummings

    November 27, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Matt Canada needs to go my steelers fans. And I’m starting to believe it’s time for a new voice at head coach. A good young innovative mind is needed to come in and get the best out the talent they have offensively. They definitely need to rebuild the trenches in next yrs draft. Hopefully offensive tackle with the first pick. With the two 2nd rd picks..a defensive tackle and a linebacker. But seriously,Canada is the biggest problem with the offense. His scheme does
    not work and I would be shocked if he’s back next season

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