Steelers name Kenny Pickett starting quarterback

New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers
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The toothpaste was never going back in the tube.

After seeing his first playing time in Sunday’s loss to the Jets, Kenny Pickett has been named the Steelers starting quarterback.

Pittsburgh released the news with its depth chart for Week Five, with Pickett ahead of Mitch Trubisky. And then head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed it during his Tuesday press conference.

“We made a change in game and Kenny will start this week,” Tomlin said. “Obviously, Mitch’s performance was a component of the decision but not the only component of the decision. And I just want to be really clear there. Oftentimes, the quarterback position gets too much credit, too much blame. We haven’t moved the ball fluidly enough for our liking. We hadn’t put enough points on the board. The quarterback is a component of that but not the only component. We’ve all got to absorb the responsibility that comes with what we haven’t done, particularly in that phase — including myself and starting with myself.

“When you make a quarterback change, you’re really sensitive to that component of it because I don’t want to dump the responsibility of what transpired at Mitch’s feet. That’s not fair to him. He’s played better than that description. But we haven’t. So in an effort to be better, in an effort to score more points, in an effort to move the ball more fluidly, we decided to go to Kenny in the hopes that he would provide a spark for us.

“We felt that, not only in terms of our ability to move the ball, but just in terms of energy. So hopefully, that’s a catalyst for us as we try to move forward and change you outcome of some of these games.”

Trubisky completed 60 percent of his passes for 653 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his four starts. He was averaging just 5.6 yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 73.7.

Pickett, the 20th overall pick of this year’s draft, entered Sunday’s game after halftime and provided a bit of a spark for Pittsburgh’s offense. He finished 10-of-13 passing for 120 yards with three interceptions. But he ran in two touchdowns, becoming the first QB to rush for two TDs in his debut.

Now Pickett will face a significant challenge as the Bills enter the week with the league’s No. 1 defense in yards allowed and No. 2 defense in points allowed.

59 responses to “Steelers name Kenny Pickett starting quarterback

  1. Makes sense to me. Trubs is a backup QB, let’s see if Pickett is good enough to be an NL starter.

  2. Why wouldn’t Tomlin make the Bills not know who to prepare for? McDermott said as much.. what a dummy.

  3. Why not. They are headed to 1-7 anyway. After that they have a chance to win some games, but not many. They should be quite high on the 2023 Draft list.

    So, it must be said: Mike Tomlin hasn’t won anything without Ben Roethlisberger. He is 1-3 without Ben, with no playoff wins. It was all Ben Roethlisberger. Bill Belichick approves this message.

  4. Add Trubisky to my list of QBs I judged wrong.I thought he was a victim of bad coaching and would be the Steelers franchise QB for years.I also thought Pickett would be a bust so, with my contrarian indicators, Steelers fans might have a future HOFer now.

  5. It can’t be changed now so those three interceptions will forever be part of his legacy, but the two during drives were the result of the receiver tipping catchable balls and the Hail Mary interception saw none of his receivers deep in the endzone. Completing the other ten attempts should be the real story.

  6. The only way young quarterbacks learn and grow is by playing. Sure, there will be mistakes and bad games, but he’s the future of the team and Trubisky is terrible. Go, Kenny!

  7. The Steelers had a HOF QB for almost two decades, and with the 20th pick in the draft, they probably figured they wouldn’t be able to draft an elite QB, so they signed Trubisky. There’s also a good chance that they had Pickett rated as an elite QB, and were pleasantly surprised when he was available. Since they already had Trubisky signed, they just got the season started, and took a wait and see approach. Here we are. Pickett probably has a much better handle on things now than he did four weeks ago. The Steelers know how to run a franchise. It’s going to work out fine. I’m old enough to remember when they drafted Terry Bradshaw. It took a couple years, but then they started collecting Lombardi Trophies. I can see something similar happening now.

  8. This is a sensible way to handle the transition. I’m sure Tomlin knew coming out of preseason that Pickett is at least as good as Trubisky. But if they start Pickett week one then when he stinks it up fans will call for Mitchell. After seeing Trubisky for 3.5 games, not so much.

    The kid gets a year to learn, and only NEXT year do you even start the evaluation on him. Judging rookie QBs is stupid. For this year’s example look at Jalen Hurts.

  9. Pickett is not ready, you saw it last week. Playing Buffalo D in FFB will be a winner.

  10. Good move. I am a Ravens fan, but think that Pickett could become a good NFL QB. Trubisky is a “never will be”, so might as well let Pickett take his lumps this season to speed up his development.

  11. There are people who think Tomlin is a genius. I don’t see it. I think he’s an average coach that is being exposed because of the loss of talent on the team.

  12. Why did they sign him to a 2 year deal then? Just start Pickkett at the start of the year and go with it.

  13. If Mike Tomlin is the coach of any other franchise he’s fired years ago, but the Steelers wanna make that social statement, and be seen as this groundbreaking franchise that’s full of loyalty, and the fan base are the ones who are suffering because of it

  14. As long as Matt Canada is the OC it won’t make one bit of difference. Let me guess — the next 50 plays will be a short pass.

  15. The real question is will Pickett be able to fix that crappy offensive line or completely overrated defense or help Najee average more than 3.8 yards per carry?

    He’s got a nice head start with Tomlin as his head coach though, I’ll give him that. Steelers are a 4-5 win roster without Tomlin.

  16. They know Trubisky isn’t the answer and they need to find out if they need to spend another pick on a QB next draft. No time like the present.

  17. The Bill’s defense, quite the baptism by fire. The whole point of a bridge starter is to hold down the fort while the future starter gets acclimatized to the NFL, and thus doesn’t get broken like David Carr by facing this level of competition too soon. In this Trubitsky manifestly failed.

  18. Finally. Should have been done after game 2. Pickett’s game wasn’t as bad as what the stats make it look. Two tipped balls of the WR’s that led to two of the interceptions and the 3rd INT was on the final hail mary. Pickett looked so much better. We may struggle a bit, but I don’t know if this is rebuilding. All we need to do is stop the run and protect the middle of the field on defense and get a better OC. Pickett at least throws the ball and looks electric. Once Watt is back, our game changes. Fix the middle of the field issues on defense and stop the run game and we will be fine. Let’s go!!!

  19. Trubisky is the Steelers 20’s version of Kent Graham. He was brought here to be exactly who he is and now its time to see what Kenny Pickett can be and its not a 1 game thing, so we watch.

  20. Pickett can expect to see lots of confusing defensive alignments this Sunday.

    Dude this is not his first game of football. Sure they will try to confuse…they even try that on Brady….try again.

  21. pioniere says:
    October 4, 2022 at 12:29 pm
    Pickett can expect to see lots of confusing defensive alignments this Sunday.

    Yes the bills are confused defensively

  22. I’d take it one step further and put Trub on the inactive list the rest of the season. Rudolph outplayed him in preseason and camp. The steelers don’t need to see Mitch the rest of the year.

  23. I agree that, given Tribs inability to generate offense, Pickett should be given a chance to develop but going up against a D as good as the Bills is going to be as successful as General Pickett’s charge up Cemetary Ridge.

  24. Well, duh! I imagine in Washington there will be a QB change as well once they go 1 and 5.

  25. Coming into this season, there were two quarterbacks that I felt had a lot of talent and upside but had been victimized in bad situation‘s: Mitch Trubisky and Baker Mayfield. After four weeks, one thing is abundantly clear: I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about

  26. I have to say that I think anybody who tries to proclaim “X coach has never won anything without “X Quarterback” just doesn’t really understand football. Bud Grant once famously said “The three things a coach needs is “A Great Quarterback, a faithful wife, and a good dog. Not necessarily in that order.”
    Teams that are successful for sustained periods, almost ALWAYS have very good if not GREAT QB play.
    That doesn’t make the coach who presided over that a bum. It makes him a good manager of the resources he had.
    It’s more of an indictment of bad coaching if QB goes from a perennial loser to another team and excels. (See Detroit Lions/Matthew Stafford.)

  27. Ok….so just one other change to make, so far, and that’s somehow replacing Matt Canada. I don’t know if he’s the worst OC, but I think most could figure out how to get more than 2 to 3 yards at a time.

  28. thunder struck says:
    October 4, 2022 at 1:19 pm
    As long as Matt Canada is the OC it won’t make one bit of difference. Let me guess — the next 50 plays will be a short pass.

    —-
    Exactly!!!!!

  29. wasthatwrong says:
    October 4, 2022 at 3:09 pm
    Coming into this season, there were two quarterbacks that I felt had a lot of talent and upside but had been victimized in bad situation‘s: Mitch Trubisky and Baker Mayfield. After four weeks, one thing is abundantly clear: I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about
    ********************

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. People are getting paid millions of dollars to make those decisions, and they’re coming to the same conclusions as you.

  30. Well, duh! I imagine in Washington there will be a QB change as well once they go 1 and 5.

    Honestly, I don’t know why the just don’t go back to Taylor Heinicke…

  31. Trubisky might want to stay in Buffalo after the game. It’s probably the only place he enjoyed playing.

  32. I think The Patriots should try to trade for Mitch Trubisky for depth and drop Hoyer. Trubisky would make a better backup to Mac Jones and actually has some potential upward trajectory, unlike Hoyer who is on the backside of his career.

  33. What did Vince Lombardi win without Bart Starr. Anyone saying Mike Tomlin is a lousy coach and only won because he had a HOF QB is not very insightful. Name me one great coach that didn’t benefit from having a great QB? Joe Gibbs, perhaps, but I can’t think of anyone else.

  34. galina says:
    October 4, 2022 at 4:53 pm
    What did Vince Lombardi win without Bart Starr. Anyone saying Mike Tomlin is a lousy coach and only won because he had a HOF QB is not very insightful. Name me one great coach that didn’t benefit from having a great QB? Joe Gibbs, perhaps, but I can’t think of anyone else.

    ***************************************
    It’s shocking to me that Joe Gibbs isn’t unanimously considered by far the greatest coach of all times. He won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none are HOFers. Bill Belichick was the D-Coordinator for the Giants back then and had to defend against Gibbs. I always felt he borrowed Gibbs’ philosophy of throwing early and often. Establish the pass, and that opens up the run. Their teams were constantly in second and short situations. As a defensive guy, Belichick would tell you it’s nearly impossible to defend second and short. The offense dictates the game. Belichick did have a HOF QB, so he was able to win six super bowls. Keeping it together for six championships is awesome, too. Lots of coaches would let their ego’s get in the way long before they got anywhere close to six rings. I’m glad to have seen the careers of both coaches.

  35. charliecharger says:
    October 4, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    wasthatwrong says:
    October 4, 2022 at 3:09 pm
    Coming into this season, there were two quarterbacks that I felt had a lot of talent and upside but had been victimized in bad situation‘s: Mitch Trubisky and Baker Mayfield. After four weeks, one thing is abundantly clear: I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about
    ********************

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. People are getting paid millions of dollars to make those decisions, and they’re coming to the same conclusions as you.

    I’m in the same boat as wasthatwrong, but I’m not conceding that easily. I think in both case, the majority of the blame for their bad starts go to Matt Canada and Ben McAdoo. Didn’t the Panthers remember that McAdoo was forced to give up playcalling during his disastrous days as the Giants HC? He made Eli Manning look bad, now he’s doing the same with Baker. He and Canada call the same stupid game – bad calls on second and long when they should be calling chunk plays, resulting in third and longs and three and outs the whole game.

  36. Many people don’t realize this but Pickett did a Burger King/Whopper commercial years ago featuring his tiny hands. True story.

  37. It’s shocking to me that Joe Gibbs isn’t unanimously considered by far the greatest coach of all times. He won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none are HOFers

  38. It’s shocking to me that Joe Gibbs isn’t unanimously considered by far the greatest coach of all times. He won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none are HOFers
    —-

    Joe Gibbs also had 3 different feature backs for his 4 Superbowl appearances to go with his 3 different QBs. John Riggins (1982-1993), George Rogers (1987), and Ernest Byner (1991). Riggins is the only Hall of Fame. And, the 1987 SB MVP was Timmy Smith, a one time wonder who still holds the record for most rushing yards in a SB.
    Gibbs is truly an underrated coach.

  39. For all the haters saying tomlin would be fired on any other team are kinda dumb…. You realize that Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowls than they have had head coaches right?
    —-signed raven fan

  40. Trubisky: An overdrafted Trent Edwards. That is all

    Hopefully Pickett can be the guy especially with the rest of the AFC North having long term QBs in place.

  41. scnfl says:
    October 4, 2022 at 8:19 pm
    It’s shocking to me that Joe Gibbs isn’t unanimously considered by far the greatest coach of all times. He won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none are HOFers
    —-

    Joe Gibbs also had 3 different feature backs for his 4 Superbowl appearances to go with his 3 different QBs. John Riggins (1982-1993), George Rogers (1987), and Ernest Byner (1991). Riggins is the only Hall of Fame. And, the 1987 SB MVP was Timmy Smith, a one time wonder who still holds the record for most rushing yards in a SB.
    Gibbs is truly an underrated coach.

    ———————–

    And Gibbs’s defenses had only one HOFer in Darrell Green, who played an amazing 20 (!) years, and for years was the fastest man in the NFL. Compare that to the defenses of the LT Giants, the 49ers, the Bears, and the Buddy Ryan Eagles, all of whom the Redskins had to deal with back then. Gibbs is truly special. Oh, and he went into another sport (NASCAR) as an owner and built a winning franchise from scratch with multiple drivers

  42. cletuspstillwaterjr says:
    October 4, 2022 at 4:47 pm
    I think The Patriots should try to trade for Mitch Trubisky for depth and drop Hoyer. Trubisky would make a better backup to Mac Jones and actually has some potential upward trajectory, unlike Hoyer who is on the backside of his career.

    ———————

    Hoyer is there to be a mentor and defacto coach more than a player. He is certainly deep into his career now, but thats the reason they want him there with the two youngsters.

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