Home Football Analyzing Kenny Pickett’s Struggles: Is He the Problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Analyzing Kenny Pickett’s Struggles: Is He the Problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers

by americanosportscom

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Concerns Surrounding Kenny Pickett’s Performance as the Steelers’ Franchise Quarterback

As the Pittsburgh Steelers declared Kenny Pickett their next franchise quarterback, many fans and analysts have expressed concerns about his ability to meet expectations. These concerns were further highlighted in the team’s recent 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns, where Pickett’s performance mirrored that of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was making only his second career start due to Deshaun Watson’s injury.

The game plan employed by both teams was conservative, relying heavily on the running game and short passes in the flats. Neither quarterback took deep shots, resulting in Pickett averaging a mere 3.8 yards per attempt. While the Browns’ defense is undoubtedly formidable, using it as an excuse for Pickett’s underwhelming performance raises doubts about the Steelers’ ability to make a Super Bowl run. Championship aspirations require overcoming real obstacles, including facing strong defenses and matching high-flying offenses score-for-score. Pickett, however, seems to be playing a supporting role rather than taking control and leading his team to victory.

It’s not just the Browns game that raises concerns. Pickett’s lackluster performance has been consistent over the past month, with his statistics from the last four games failing to reach even mediocre levels:

  • Week 8: 10/16, 73 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 9: 19/30, 160 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Week 10: 14/23, 126 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 11: 14/27, 106 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

These numbers are not just mediocre; they are downright miserable. Pickett’s accuracy, which was supposed to be his strong suit and the main reason the Steelers drafted him, has been below average. His conservative approach has helped him avoid turnovers, but it also limits his ability to make plays down the field. He seems most comfortable throwing against man coverage, where he can make clean and simple reads. However, when faced with zone defenses, Pickett struggles to make accurate and effective decisions.

Opposing defenses have discovered the key to neutralizing Pickett’s effectiveness: playing soft zone coverage. By taking away his preferred vertical sideline throws and forcing him into more complex reads, defenses can easily disrupt his rhythm and force him into a shell. Pickett’s regression under pressure was evident in the game against the Browns, where he faced more pressure than in the previous two games.

While it’s true that the Steelers’ offense has other issues, such as uninspiring play-calling and a lack of interior weapons, there is enough talent on the roster for the unit to perform better. Pickett’s struggles cannot be excused indefinitely, and the blame-shifting by Coach Mike Tomlin is becoming increasingly transparent. It’s understandable that Tomlin wants to protect his quarterback from external pressure, but at some point, the team needs Pickett to step up and deliver.

Despite these concerns, it’s not time to give up on Pickett just yet. There is still hope that he can demonstrate his potential in a game against a decent opponent before the season ends. He needs to put together a complete performance that showcases his ability to be the franchise quarterback the Steelers envisioned. So far, he has come close but has yet to fully meet expectations.

Other quarterbacks have had their moments, even if they were fleeting or false. Josh Dobbs has found success with different teams, Zach Wilson has shown competence against top-tier opponents, and even Tommy DeVito, an unexpected name, has had a three-touchdown game and led his team to victory. Pickett needs to prove that he can have a similar breakthrough and consistently perform at a high level.

While Pickett has managed to avoid costly mistakes, the Steelers did not draft him to simply avoid losing games. They expect more from their franchise quarterback. If Pickett fails to show significant improvement and fulfill his potential, the Steelers will need to seriously consider their future at the quarterback position once the 2023 season concludes.

Steelers Quarterback Kenny Pickett Under Fire as Offensive Woes Continue

Is Pickett the Problem?

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has been trying to explain away the team’s offensive struggles, but at some point, the blame has to fall on one person: their quarterback, Kenny Pickett.

While it’s important to consider context and be patient when evaluating a football player, especially a quarterback, there comes a time when excuses run out. Pickett, the Steelers’ next franchise quarterback, has not shown any progress since his rookie year. In fact, he has regressed.

Recent performances have been a cause for concern. Over the past month, Pickett’s play has spiraled downward, with each week worse than the last. The Steelers are still in the playoff race, but it’s clear that Pickett is not living up to expectations.

A Downhill Spiral

The Steelers’ game plan in their recent 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns highlighted Pickett’s struggles. The team relied heavily on the running game and short passes, playing conservatively and avoiding deep shots. Pickett averaged just 3.8 yards per attempt, the same as the Browns’ rookie quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

While the Browns have a strong defense, Pickett’s lackluster performance cannot be solely attributed to their toughness. If the Steelers justify his underwhelming performance by pointing to the strength of the opposing defense, then they should not have hopes of making a Super Bowl run. Championship teams must overcome real obstacles and have quarterbacks who can take control and make plays.

A Month of Futility

Pickett’s struggles extend beyond just one game. Over the past four games, his numbers have been far from impressive:

  • Week 8: 10/16, 73 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 9: 19/30, 160 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Week 10: 14/23, 126 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 11: 14/27, 106 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

These numbers are not even mediocre; they are simply miserable. Pickett’s accuracy, which was supposed to be his strength, has been below average. He has shown a reluctance to take risks and make plays down the field, opting for safe throws against man coverage. When teams have taken away those opportunities, Pickett has struggled.

More Than Just Pickett

While Pickett bears some responsibility for the Steelers’ offensive woes, he is not the sole problem. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s game plans have often missed the mark, and the offensive line has its own issues. However, there is enough talent on the roster for the offense to perform better.

At some point, the Steelers cannot continue to make excuses. Pickett’s limitations and struggles must be acknowledged. The blame-shifting and goalpost-moving to protect him from criticism can only last for so long.

The Future at Quarterback

Pickett’s ability to avoid costly mistakes is commendable, but it raises questions about his potential as a franchise quarterback. The Steelers drafted him with the expectation that he would be more than just a game manager. If he cannot show significant improvement and prove himself capable of leading the team to victory, the Steelers will need to consider their future at the quarterback position.

While it’s not time to give up on Pickett just yet, he needs to have a breakout game against a quality opponent to demonstrate his potential. So far, he has not had that moment in his career. Other quarterbacks, even those considered less talented, have had their moments of success. Pickett must show that he can do the same.

Ultimately, winning games requires more than just avoiding mistakes. If Pickett cannot elevate his play and show that he can be the quarterback the Steelers need, the team must start planning for the future as soon as the 2023 season ends.

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