Don’t think for a second that the Steelers should bench Kenny Pickett
Kenny Pickett is coming off a very disappointing performance, but don’t think for a second that the right choice is for the Steelers to bench him for Mitch Trubisky.
Things did not go according to plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Facing the Dolphins on the road in primetime, all eyes were on quarterback Kenny Pickett to see if he could help this offense take a step forward. Unfortunately, his performance was about as poor as we could have anticipated.
Running Matt Canada’s uncreative offense, Pickett dinked and dunked his way down the field, but most drives stalled before the offense could sniff the red zone. By the end of the evening, Pickett had managed just 257 yards on 44 attempts (5.8 yards per attempt), via ESPN stats. What’s worse is that the rookie had his second three-interception game in just four appearances on the football field.
This brings the rookie’s total up to seven picks on the season. Considering that he only has two passing touchdowns and is dead last in the league in adjusted yards per attempt, according to Pro Football Reference, this is not at all where we would like him to be.
Things were admittedly gloomy on Sunday Night Football for Pittsburgh, and 10 points is genuinely inexcusable. However, don’t be fooled into believing for a second that the right choice is to go back to Mitch Trubisky.
Steelers must march forward with Kenny Pickett at the helm
Just like last week, one of the biggest topics of discussion following the Steelers 16-10 loss to the Dolphins is that Mitch Trubisky needs to take back the reigns as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback with Kenny Pickett taking a seat on the bench. I could not disagree more with this philosophy.
The argument made here is that Trubisky gives the Steelers a better chance to win football games in the present. Admittedly, there might be some truth to this. Trubisky is more experienced and he didn’t turn the ball over as much when he was in the game. But what is the endgame here? Is it trying to settle for mediocrity? We already had this with Trubisky at the helm.
While Pickett has certainly struggled in the early going, there is literally no upside to going back to Trubisky as the starting quarterback. Even if he helps this team win an extra game or two that Pickett (hypothetically) couldn’t, all it is going to do is give the Steelers a worse draft pick in a year where they clearly aren’t in a position to make the playoffs.
Even if this team somehow miraculously snuck into the post-season (which would likely require no more than three losses for the remainder of the season), they would get pulverized against teams like the Bills or Chiefs in the playoffs — just like they did last year. Though Mike Tomlin no doubt wants to uphold that winner’s mentality, this would actually hurt the Steelers in terms of rebuilding next offseason.
The biggest reason that Pickett needs to remain the starting quarterback is that he was drafted to be ‘the guy’ moving forward. He needs to show this team whether he is or isn’t a franchise quarterback. At 24 years old and with five years of college experience under his belt, there’s no sense in delaying the inevitable — especially when the alternative is going back to a six-year veteran and journeyman QB who struggled in the same offense.
Obviously, we all know how badly Matt Canada is limiting the offensive upside of this team. However, we have to assume that Pickett will still continue to learn and grow with each passing game. The hope is that, by next season with a new offensive coordinator, he has enough experience under his belt and chemistry with his young receivers to take a big step forward.
This jump in performance isn’t going to happen if Kenny Pickett is holding a clipboard from the sidelines. The Pittsburgh Steelers made the choice to go with him and he needs to be the guy out there for the next few years until they figure out what they have in him. I am confident Mike Tomlin will relay the same message to the media if asked. At this point, we just need to hope that Pickett starts trending in the right direction.