Kenny Pickett… Is He The Answer?

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Jacob Clarkson

Pickett jerseys are becoming more common in Pittsburgh, but is he the future for the Steelers?

Jacob Clarkson, Staff Writer

With the Pittsburgh Steelers dropping to a 2-4 record there are many questions about the Steelers offense. Most importantly the vital quarterback position. After the second half benching of Mitchell Trubisky against the New York Jets on October 2nd, rookie Kenny Pickett made his season debut. 

Pickett, a very promising first round prospect out of the University of Pittsburgh. The Steelers selected him with the 20th pick of the 2022 NFL draft. There was a lot of talk going into the season about  whether Kenny should be starting right off the bat or if he should wait a while behind 5-year veteran Mitchell Trubisky. The Steelers decided to go with Mitchell Trubisky to start the season.

The Steelers started out great, beating the defending super bowl runner ups, Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. The season looked promising. Trubisky threw for 1 touchdown and 194 yards. He followed this game up with a loss to New England only throwing for one touchdown again. 

Then the Steelers took on division rival Cleveland Browns where Mitch was scoreless. Trubisky threw for 2 touchdowns in 3 and a half games for the Steelers. After the Browns game there was rising tension about the quarterback situation, with fans booing Trubisky as he came off the field in the first half of the Jets game was a telling factor. 

[Trubisky’s] terrible, he plays with no energy and looks like he’s scared.”

— Noah Spak

NAI student and die hard Steelers fan Noah Spak has a strong opinion on Trubisky, “He’s terrible, he plays with no energy and looks like he’s scared. Pickett is the way to go.”

Starting in the second half Kenny Pickett ran onto the field as the quarterback against the Jets. 6 plays in, Pickett had his first rough moment in the NFL as he threw an interception on a long pass downfield. This had fans in doubt of what they had been wishing for the past 4 weeks, but he bounced back the next offensive drive scoring his first NFL touchdown on a 1 yard run. 

He finished the game with 3 interceptions but also 2 touchdowns. Already tying Trubisky’s touchdowns on the season, Pickett had great completions and looked stellar at times. He did have 3 interceptions, though two passes hit their receiver but were tipped up and intercepted, and one interception was a end of game hail mary.

After an October 9 game against the Bills in which the Steelers only scored 3 total points, there are even more questions. Is the issue really the quarterbacks? Or is it Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada? Fans seemed outraged at the team and coaches, but the confidence in Kenny  was still there. 

But last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pickett went down with a concussion at the start of the 3rd quarter. Trubisky had to make a reappearance for the Steelers during a close game. Trubisky surprisingly outperformed Pickett in only about a quarter and a half of play. Throwing for 144 yards and a touchdown to hold on and beat Brady and the Bucs definitely made a lot of people reconsider him. 

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About the starting role, Sophomore Brady Meyer says, “Kenny should still be the starter. After a week or two he will be back from his concussion and I still think he is a better player and person for our team. The energy and excitement he brings just can’t be matched. It’s definitely good that we have a very solid second option at QB though.”

Some fans aren’t convinced just yet. Pickett going down in the Tampa game doesn’t help either, as fans have a new revived hope for Trubisky and continued doubt in Pickett. Some question whether or not he can perform at an NFL level.

Many students at NAI think Trubisky should lead the way this season, but even more students believe Pickett is what the team needs this year. Pickett brings a lot of energy with the team and the fans. People love him. 

Noah Spak says, “it’s obvious that Pickett should be the starter, I think he brings more energy and takes more risks and I believe that will lead us to more success than Mitch had. There is just the doubt of whether or not he can adapt to NFL speed and defenses, especially with our mediocre offensive coordinator.” 

The city, the school, the team, everyone seems to have hope in Pickett and everyone will be watching to see if he succeeds. But it’s just whether or not he can turn the season around, or if the Steelers will fall into having a long, mediocre, losing season along with the rest of the poverty teams of the NFL.