Why the Kenny Pickett era leaves no excuse for Steelers OC Matt Canada
The Pittsburgh Steelers have transitioned to a new post-Ben Roethlisberger era, but Matt Canada still has no excuses for his lack of success.
The Kenny Pickett era in Pittsburgh has officially begun when he was announced as the Steelers starting quarterback moving forward ahead of week 4’s matchup vs. the Buffalo Bills. When the Steelers were down 10-3 in week 3’s matchup vs. the New York Jets, then starting quarterback, five-year veteran Mitch Trubisky was pulled from the lineup and was benched by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin then put Pickett in after halftime, the beginning of the third quarter.
The one thing that a lot of Yinzers feared as they enter “life after Ben Roethlisberger” was not having a quarterback that they feel they can believe in, someone who isn’t afraid to take hits and take shots down of the field. This is something that many believed Trubisky wasn’t capable of being, which is why many applauded him being benched two weeks ago vs. the Jets for the likes of Pickett.
With all of this being said, the team seems as if they lucked out again on snagging themselves a franchise quarterback without having a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft, selecting Roethlisberger in the first round with the #11th overall pick in the 2004 draft and then selecting Pickett with the #20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Steelers overall record at 1-4 may tell a different story, but the problem is clearly not the quarterback, and believe it or not the issues are easily fixable.
Not only are the fans behind Pickett but so are both the players and coaches on the team. When asked about Pickett and what he brings to the table, Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson had this to say:
"“It gave us a spark, what we needed. We weren’t moving the ball as well. Well, we were moving the ball, but I felt like when he came in, we were more efficient and you could see it in his energy. He played with swag. You could see it. That makes us want to play for him, too. We have to continue to get him better and prepare for next week and get this W.”"
Johnson stated this after the week 2 loss vs. the Jets, via Pittsburgh Post Gazette
The praise for the young rookie quarterback didn’t stop there, the next Steelers player to hop on the Pickett train was Steelers second-team running back rookies Jaylen Warren who stated this when asked about Pickett:
"“Kenny Pickett is a great leader in the huddle, and that he’s “transparent” with each player on what he wants them to do …“It makes you want to do your job two times harder.”"
Warren stated this in an interview when asked about the Pickett’s team presence to Steelers reporter Josh Rowntree via 93.7 The Fan.
Matt Canada needs to utilize young Steelers talent in the new era
With this being the fifth quarterback under his offensive system, this will leave Matt Canada now with no more excuses for his offense to not work well enough for the team to produce points and win football games.
The Steelers have something special with Pickett and Canada needs to start using it to his advantage. Others on the offense need to step up like Johnson, and Chase Claypool need to start catching passes and create better production on the football field to put this team in a position to succeed and win football games.
The Steelers tough road remains ahead as they’re only three weeks away from the bye week, right in time to have their star player AP Defensive Player of the Year T.J Watt back in the lineup.
While they wait on Watt to return, they have to find a way to get to .500 before their bye week as they look to regain the AFC North crown and head back to the postseason for the third consecutive year straight. The Steelers are currently only sitting one game behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, and two games behind the current leaders the Baltimore Ravens who they will play within the mid and final stretch of the 2022 season.
What can you expect? Matt Canada has to step his game up and find a way to get this offense sharpened up just in time for the team to bounce back and make a run at the playoffs this season.