Kenny Pickett has struggled. Yes, that is very true through the first week of training camp. With the pads coming on Monday, it is a new week in Latrobe and an opportunity for Pickett to turn over a new leaf. Still, why should Steelers fans be concerned about anything they heard or saw in the first week?
If there has been anything that has been discussed the most throughout training camp, it would be the competition between Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky. It seems as if Pickett is falling behind in the race almost. Not until Saturday did Pickett actually end up getting a seven-shots rep. In it, he threw a gorgeous fade to Tyler Vaughns for a touchdown. However, many sacks, a few incompletions, and even some interceptions later, and Pickett struggling is a story plastered all over the web.
Halt the Horses on Anything
Training camp is naturally the battleground where everyone gets excited about what happens. Still, there is so much more that goes into a football player. Being worried about Pickett at this stage is not something that should cross someone’s mind. The rarity in which rookies come into a training camp and light the place on fire is rare. Even Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and others struggled in this camp.
Is that to say Pickett becomes as good as those guys? Of course not, but they even struggled, and look where they are now. The first week of training camp is a fickle ground where a rookie quarterback is learning his surroundings. In minicamp, Pickett looked fine enough, but this is another level of speed even from that point.
There has to be a buffer level for Pickett to figure things out. A struggling Pickett at this point is not a worry, but a mere storyline. It will become more of a worry if Pickett does not grow as the season drags onward. Simply put, Pickett is a young player. He may not even be ready to play by the time training camp ends. For many rookies, learning the NFL and adjusting to it is not a month-long process but a year-long process.
Pickett fits into this same vein. As a rookie quarterback with two veterans around him, expecting anything too much is overstepping the boundaries of reasonable expectation. Pickett may very well be a good quarterback at some point this season, but right now, he does have to be that.
Let’s Talk Circumstances for Kenny Pickett
Pickett was thrown into the fire of training under the guise of what was a terrible offensive line. In week two, Rudolph has struggled just as much behind this line as Pickett did last week. Suddenly with the second-team offensive line playing at a competent level, Pickett’s play goes up. It is fairly simple. The offensive line is a huge factor in a quarterback’s success and failure.
He looks poised and more comfortable in the second week. Does it mean that Pickett is going to be anything of note? Really, the answer is no. But it also is true for the opposite of that as well. Pickett’s first training camp will not define anything he does for the rest of his career. In week two, he looks like he belongs and has been impressive on more than one account. His ability to extend the play outside the pocket and find his open man is the most impressive thing that he has flashed in week two.
Pickett does not have to start in 2022 for it to be a success. His very brand is that of playmaking and flair. So, sure, it could take him a little bit of time to catch up with the speed of the NFL. That is very normal for any rookie at any position on the football field.
Simply put, it is curious at best to worry or crown Pickett at this stage. It is okay to just watch a rookie go through a season where they are learning and going through ups and downs. That is what is happening with Pickett right now. He has shown off just what he does well at every step of the way. The issues that were on his tape are there, too.
Pickett’s success in a rookie year will be defined by how much he grows over the year. It is that growth that is the right measure of a successful campaign or not. So, do not get caught up in the short-term while overlooking the long-term aspect of Pickett’s development as a whole.