Though it comes as little surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to turn to Kenny Pickett as the team’s starting quarterback going forward. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted the news moments ago.
Pickett saw his first regular season action Sunday against the New York Jets, replacing veteran Mitch Trubisky at halftime. Pickett went 10/13 with two rushing touchdowns and three interceptions in his debut though his overall play was encouraging and the box score doesn’t completely reflect his play. He led the offense to 14 second-half points after registering just six in the first 30 minutes versus the Jets.
After the game, Mike Tomlin declined to name a starter. But with Pickett playing well and the offense looking for more production, sticking with Pickett is the logical decision. Tomlin will hold his weekly press conference tomorrow at noon/EST where he’s likely to make an official announcement.
Pickett’s first start will come this Sunday on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers enter the meat of their schedule over the next month. After travelling to Buffalo, they’ll host Tampa Bay and then go to Miami and Philadelphia before their bye week.
Trubisky ran as the Steelers’ starter since he signed as a free agent this offseason. He took all the first-team reps during the spring and almost all of them during the summer, starting each preseason game. Through 3 1/2 games this season, Trubisky completed under 60% of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. While he was more aggressive pushing the ball downfield the last two weeks, he wasn’t effective or efficient and the Steelers’ offense struggled to sustain and finish drives. His pocket presence was also a problem and he took multiple bad sacks, dropped eight games this season.
Pickett impressed during the summer, especially in preseason games, and played relatively well in his debut yesterday. In a word that was repeated by teammates and coaches, Pickett provided a “spark” to the offense to build a ten-point lead on the Jets, though the Steelers’ defense collapsed in the fourth quarter.