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The Curious Case Of Steelers' QB Kenny Pickett

The jury is pretty split on Steelers second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett. Many on the app formerly known as Twitter have been eviscerating the young quarterback. It’s almost become the popular thing to do. In many instances, if you try to defend Pickett, you’re pegged as a biased Pitt fan, or delusional.


But it’s not fair to entirely count the guy out yet, while his numbers through 20 games are an odd sight, the guy has found ways to win games. A great defense has helped a lot in that, but Pickett has shown up when the Steelers need it most. Fourth quarter Pickett is a real phenomenon we’re witnessing. If the Steelers could get four-quarters of that Kenny Pickett, things might be a lot different.


Steelers Need Four Quarters To Make A Dollar


In his Tuesday press conference, Head Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged Pickett’s raised level of play in the fourth quarter when asked a question about Pickett’s passer rating in the first three quarters.



Tomlin was complimentary of his quarterback, then also acknowledged Pickett needed to be better to start games. Last week against the Titans we saw an electric first drive from Pickett and the Steelers offense, only to fall flat for the rest of the first half. They pulled out the usual second-half power-up, but it can’t always come to that for the Steelers.


Don’t Give Up On Him Yet


While it’s been rocky at times for Pickett, we’ve also seen times when that moxie has come into play and he comes up big. The guy is a gamer, they just need to tell him it’s always the fourth quarter or something. He currently sits at seven game-winning drives in his career and currently holds a better fourth-quarter passer rating than a lot of top quarterbacks. It is mind-boggling, but it has to all mean something, right?



Pickett also sees a significant jump in an array of weird stats. His completion percentage, passer rating, and passing yards all jump. His off-target passes dip. Everything seems to slow down for Pickett as the lights get the brightest. Usually not the case for young quarterbacks in the NFL, that’s what makes it so confusing. If he has that part down, the rest should be easy to develop, right?



Pickett Has Been Far From Perfect


Even as a Pickett believer, there is no way you can believe everything the guy has done is great. He has flaws in his game and not many, if any would disagree. Bailing from a clean pocket early and some bad passes here and there. He’s had the mental lapses from time to time, almost Josh Allen-esque at times in that way.


Having Ben Roethlisberger also ruined the Steelers nation’s mind. Nobody knows how quarterback development works anymore it seems. Big Ben broke onto the scene as a great quarterback willing to take risks and the generational defense he had was also a big part. The Steelers were contenders from day one with Big Ben, even if we didn’t know it then. Sometimes these guys need a little bit of time to figure it out. Often it feels like guys get given up on too early. Look at Geno Smith.


No matter what side of the fence you fall on for the great Kenny Pickett debate at this point doesn’t matter. Surely the Steelers will give him more time to figure it out and get comfortable. Maybe one day all the Pickett defenders will have to eat their words. Maybe one day Pickett will be a Steeler great. Who knows? Only time will tell.



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