The Pittsburgh Steelers will start a different quarterback on opening day for the first time since 2010 when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended. And it will be the first year without Roethlisberger waiting in the wings to return since 2003. That leaves the door open for rookie Kenny Pickett to make an impact in his first season with the Steelers. And all of that starts this weekend has he goes through his first practices as a Steeler.
Pickett, and fellow rookie quarterback Chris Oladokun will split all of the snaps at rookie minicamp this weekend. So that will give them plenty of reps over the weekend as they try to learn the playbook.
Yesterday Pickett caught up with the media following his first walk through as a Steeler. He was asked about learning offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offense which is similar to what he ran at Pitt.
I have a pretty good background with the offense. Coach Canada recruited me here to Pitt right next door, and then Coach Watson kind of kept some of the same formation, so I thought the walkthroughs went pretty well. I’m excited to practice in a couple of hours,” Pickett was asked to elaborate on how identical he two offenses are. “Yes. By the same, I don’t mean identical. I mean the formations that Coach Canada had, Coach Lawson inherited, and he kind of kept a little bit of the same. That’s really as far as the extent of it. So, I had some kind of recall to that which really helped me with the install.
Canada was the offensive coordinator at Pitt when the Panthers recruited Pickett to Pitt in 2016 from New Jersey. Pickett didn’t play under Canada as he left the school before Pickett arrived, but his predecessor Shawn Watson kept a lot of what Canada installed at Pitt. The circumstances surrounding Pickett’s knowledge of the offense should benefit him as the team heads to training camp.
This is learning what I have to do. I mean, I got no shot if I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m just kind of really dedicate myself to the playbook and learning every detail I possibly can to give ourselves the best shot to operate out here. I just really want to have a smooth practice with these guys and hopefully everyone looks good.
Pickett understands that the most important thing he can do at this point is learn what he’s doing. The next step after the Steelers minicamp will be OTA’s and that’s when the entire 2022 team will come together for the first time. If Pickett wants to get some reps he’s going to need to know what he’s doing and command the offense.
“I think it’s all mental. Really knowing what I have to do. Know the responsibilities of everybody else on the offense and learn the new defenses that are in the NFL. So there’s a lot that goes into it. I’m excited to dedicate myself to it and obsess over trying to be the best I can be and learning as much as I can.”
Pickett is right. He isn’t going to be competing with any other quarterback that has insane physical tools. The most important thing will be for him to know what he’s doing. And for him to lead the offense. If he’s able to show his ability to understand what needs to happen and be cool calm and collected, he will be the Steelers starter week 1.
MORE STEELERS NEWS
ESPN Lists Steelers Defensive Line As Biggest Hole On Roster; Call 3rd Round Pick DeMarvin Leal “A Middling Athlete”
Steelers Insider Mark Kaboly Confirms Ben Roethlisberger Reached Out To 1st Round Pick Kenny Pickett