The Steelers were hoping to see their much-maligned offense build upon a decent showing against the Raiders in Week 3 as they traveled to Houston to face the Texans. Instead, they had one of their worst showings as an offense (and team overall) over the past few seasons. There is plenty of blame to go around, but Kenny Pickett did less to help himself than maybe ever before.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that there will be changes made, but we all know those changes are likely to be minor ones that won’t solve this team’s issues. Sure, they could fire Matt Canada after allowing him to be employed for far too long.
They could shuffle the offensive line to try and find some type of improvement up front. The damage to Pickett and his development, however, may already be done.
Kenny Pickett is a shell of his once confident self
This game against the Texans, more so than any other, was a microcosm of the bad habits and indecisiveness that has become synonymous with Kenny Pickett this season. He routinely bailed from clean pockets when there was a throw to be made if he had stuck with the play. He threw the ball up for grabs while trying to hit Calvin Austin on a deep shot that had worked just last week, but the Texans were ready for it and Steven Nelson came away with a pick.
These mistakes are certainly not all on him. The coaching he is receiving and the presumed lack of confidence he must have in this offensive system have him searching for answers. He knows that it’s unlikely for his receivers to be open quickly, and his internal clock has sped up after facing ferocious pass rushes three weeks in a row.
Naturally, he then leans on his scrambling ability to try and make something happen. It even worked in this game occasionally, in particular his 32-yard completion to Najee Harris.
At the end of the day though, he can’t succeed in the NFL long term if he has to play that way just to survive. He wasn’t good in Week 4 and hasn’t really been good often this season, but it’s hard to evaluate anybody on this offense at the moment.
He may even be missing valuable time thanks to an idiotic fourth down call late in the game, taking a sack on a shotgun pass instead of running the football. Until a change at play-caller is made, I don’t see Pickett or this offense showing any improvement.