Monday, February 6 2023

The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to name a starting quarterback for the 2022 NFL season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin has three options: Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett. Trubisky, a free agent signing, is entering his sixth NFL season. Rudolph is entering his fifth. Pickett is a rookie. 

Is going with the rookie signal-caller a smart move?

Pittsburgh’s rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cincinnati rolled with Burrow under center until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Nov. 2020. Burrow and the Bengals bounced back from a 4-11-1 campaign by winning the AFC North and advancing to the Super Bowl last season.

During Friday’s airing of “The Herd,” Colin Cowherd referenced the Bengals and Burrow as a model for why the Steelers should roll with Pickett, contending it’s the best way for the quarterback to find himself.

“You got to let Kenny Pickett fail,” Cowherd said. “Start him and let him stink. If he starts this year, he’s going to have four games, you’re going to want to bury the tape. He’s going to have a fourth-quarter rally, he’s going to throw a pick-six. He’s going to be bad because he’s not as good as Burrow. But like Burrow, he’s got some weapons. And like Burrow, it’s a bad offensive line he’s dealing with.

“He’s going to be running around, running for his life, but you got to let young people fail.”

Why Steelers should let Kenny Pickett learn on the job

Colin Cowherd explains why the Steelers need to let rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett “fail” in his rookie season.

The Steelers selected Pickett out of Pittsburgh with the No. 20 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He finished the 2021 college football season with 4,319 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 165.3 quarterback rating, completing 67.2% of his passes. He also logged 241 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Pickett finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

Across the Steelers’ two preseason games, Pickett has averaged 85.5 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns per game, completing 86.2% of his passes. If he starts, Pickett will have strong pass-catching options, including wide receivers Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and George Pickens, as well as tight end Pat Freiermuth.

The Steelers went 9-7-1 last season, good for second in the AFC North, but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC wild-card round. Long-time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement after the season.

Cowherd feels that Pickett’s development should be a priority for the Steelers in 2022.

“You got to let Kenny Pickett have awful Sundays, a bunch of them,” Cowherd said. “Don’t put Trubisky in there. Now, if you want to start Trubisky for the first couple games, fine. But when you put Kenny in, don’t bring Trubisky back to preserve Mike Tomlin’s never-been-under .500 streak. This may be the year you go 6-11, but it’s going to be an invaluable experience. I’m excited for it.”

The Steelers close out the preseason against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. 

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Source: FOX Sports


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