I’m sure you can guess what the biggest topic is in Pittsburgh now—and what it will probably be for a while. That is the obvious, when is Kenny Pickett going to start for the Steelers? The first-round quarterback played well during the preseason and has generally passed all the eye tests.
Meanwhile, the offense is not exactly humming with Mitch Trubisky under center, and he is certainly not free of blame for those results, even if there are plenty of fingers to be pointed. The fact remains that this team has only scored four offensive touchdowns in three games, and they rank near the bottom of the league in every per-drive efficiency metric.
Head coach Mike Tomlin has already stated “definitively” that he is not currently entertaining the idea of benching Trubisky in favor of Pickett as they come out of this Thursday night game, but one wonders what the players think. Even if they support and believe in Trubisky, would they be on board with the rookie?
Former Steelers guard Ramon Foster was asked to give his own perspective from a player’s point of view about how he might feel about the position in the locker room. Appearing as a guest on the Zach Gelb Show, he was asked if he “would be ready to go to Pickett” at this point in the season.
“Yeah, I probably would, just simply because they got a bye right now, a mini-bye. They got 10 days before the next game. If I saw stuff in practice that said he could get us going”, he said, then he would be able to get on board with the change being made right now. But he also stressed that it would have to be a collective effort.
“This is the other part of it too though”, he said, “is you’d have to let everybody involved know, ‘Look, we gotta protect him. They’re gonna come at him a little bit harder. They’re gonna make things crazy for him. He don’t know the way NFL defenses operate’. And at least offensively, it’s got to be a collective goal to say we’re gonna make him look good, because if he looks good, everybody’s eating”.
Still, he ultimately reiterated that if he were still a player in that locker room right now, in his mind, he would be ready for Pickett to take over—specifically, right now, as the starter in week four, not for some unspecified point in time later this season.
Of course, we know that this is not going to happen, Tomlin is clearly taking his time bringing Pickett along, and perhaps the earliest we could possible expect him to seriously contemplate making the change would be at the midseason bye week.
Until then, this is probably going to be a weekly debate, because I’m not sure Trubisky is ever going to have a game that just makes you say, ‘Okay, this is the guy for a while’. The bigger question all along has been, ‘Okay, can Pickett be the guy now?’.