Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth played with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during his rookie season in the NFL and there was no question about who the leader of the offense was when Roethlisberger was in the huddle.
Freiermuth’s second season looked different. Roethlisberger retired and the Steelers opened the season with Mitch Trubisky as their starter. Trubisky gave way to first-round pick Kenny Pickett in Week Four and Freiermuth said on Roethlisberger’s podcast that Pickett did not initially command the same kind of attention from the rest of the offense.
That contributed to a 3-7 start to the season, but Pickett found better footing from there and the Steelers won six of their final seven games. Freiermuth said that Pickett’s improved comfort level was obvious in every respect.
“He was just so much more confident and so much more urgent and knew what he was gonna do,” Freiermuth said, via SteelersDepot.com. “So it took him a little bit to get going, but he showed that he’s the real deal.”
The Steelers didn’t make the playoffs, but the strong finish to the season and the progress that Pickett showed are reasons to feel optimistic about where they stand as the offseason gets underway.