For you Steelers fans, this is one of those occasions where we all need to sprinkle a little dose of reality about Kenny Pickett.
Since his rookie season, Pickett has played a total of 21 games, with 20 starts under his belt. In other words, we have more than enough of a sample size to make a reasonable assessment of who he is. This being noted, of his 20 starts, his performance against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night may have been arguably his most revealing, but not in a good way.
Yes, they won the game, and yes, Pickett did have his moments in this game, notably his deep pass completion to receiver Diontae Johnson in the fourth quarter that put them within striking distance of the end zone. One would have noticed, however, that those deep completions were few and far between. Much of Matt Canada's offensive in this game was predicated on short completions (mainly inside the boundary), reverals, and a run offense that was surprisingly effective. Pickett made very few completions over 20 yards and finished the game with just 160 passing yards, in contrast to Titans rookie quarterback Will Levis, who finished with 262 passing yards.
As the game continued, it became very clear that the offensive game plan against the Titans had two objectives:to dominate the Titans on the ground while making it simple enough for Pickett to adapt. You see, ladies and gentlemen, this offense was catered to Pickett in such a way that it camouflages his limitations, the type of limitation that can be detrimental to the progress of a team.
When you think of good quarterbacks, most of them take a methodical, surgical approach to the game. Pre-snap, they are capable of reading defenses and making the proper adjustments. Post-snaps, they are capable of efficiently going through their progression while being aware of defenders coming through and stepping up if needed—pocket awareness. Lastly, the good ones are able to make throws with the right touch and ball placement. All these things noted, Pickett does not do any of them well, which is a major concern.
As popular as it is to place the burden of blame on Canada, one may need to realize that he is not as horrible as you think. If anything, he is taking the blame on his shoulders to draw less attention to Pickett's limitations. So the pending question is: should the team move on from him? Well, it would be tempting considering the depth of talent in the upcoming draft. Yet, knowing this organization, they are likely to keep him in the hopes that he will evolve into the player they believe he would be when drafted in the first round. Whether it materializes or not remains to be seen.