The Pittsburgh Steelers have a difficult decision to make when deciding whether or not to start Kenny Pickett in Week 1. Here are the pros and cons of doing so.
Some of the head coaches have to make certainly aren’t easy. After setting the world on fire in his first two preseason games (albeit in limited action), there is a large portion of the Steelers fan base screaming for Kenny Pickett to be the Week 1 starting quarterback when Pittsburgh visits the Cincinnati Bengals.
While I would like nothing more than for Pickett to continue his remarkable summer run early into his very first NFL season, this isn’t guaranteed to go as planned. There are plenty of pros and cons Mike Tomlin will have to weigh before deciding whether or not to declare Kenny Pickett as the starter in Week 1.
Pros of starting Kenny Pickett Week 1
Let’s start with the pros. After a slow start at Steelers training camp, Pickett has emerged as one of the most talked-about players in the NFL over the past several weeks. It was easy to see his failing improvement at camp, and he built on this with an even more impressive rookie preseason.
So far, Pickett hasn’t done anything to suggest that he’s not ready to start in the NFL. The 20th overall pick has led some impressive touchdown drives during the preseason and was nearly perfect against Jacksonville. His dart to Pat Freiermuth over the middle knowing he was going to get drilled is when he really put on his big boy pants.
Pickett was drafted to be the face of the franchise after Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a 24-year-old rookie with five years of college experience and an ACC Championship under his belt. He has done everything he needed to do this offseason to be considered a strong starting candidate from the gate.
Cons of starting Kenny Pickett Week 1
While Pickett looks as ready as any rookie quarterback over the past several years, the Pittsburgh Steelers might want to think twice before they feed him to the wolves in Week 1. Though Pickett looks like he has a pretty good grasp on things, the offensive line clearly does not.
In the preseason, Mitch Trubisky was running for his life as Kendrick Green, Dan Moore, and James Daniels let defensive linemen through with one sloppy pass set after the next. The bad part is that there’s no guarantee this will go away early in the season.
While I don’t want to see any Steelers quarterback get hammered behind a bad offensive line, perhaps it would be wise to allow a more experienced player like Trubisky to go out there and take his lumps rather than shaking the confidence of your future franchise quarterback.
If the Steelers did decide to start Pickett and things weren’t going well, it’s hard to go back the other way. Nothing will destroy his confidence more than being benched for a stop-gap veteran after a few bad games. They need to make sure the timing is right.
What should the Steelers do?
There are plenty of schools of thought that go into making a decision like this, and I really can see things both ways. However, I think I’m leaning toward the camp that Pickett should begin the season on the bench as the QB2.
As much as I would love to see him take the stage by storm, Pittsburgh’s offensive line has me incredibly worried about whichever QB is under center to begin the season.
When the team first drafted Pickett, I wanted nothing more than for him to see the stage right away, but now that I see how poorly the OL is performing, I don’t want to get into a situation where he has a rough start, is injured, or his confidence is rattled early in the season. Let me know what you think Kenny Pickett should start Week 1 or not in the comments!