In Kenny Pickett’s 2nd Year, Steelers Offense Hunting for Big Plays
PITTSBURGH — The Steelers and Kenny Pickett felt like they were making progress toward the end of the season. With a running game that broke out and lead the Steelers to a surge to finish the season. However, the offense missed a big play element all year.
The Steelers ended up near the bottom of the league in explosive plays. They were even further toward the bottom of the league if you just put them into explosive passing plays. However, one of the goals this year for the team is to break that all wide open. It starts with the confidence the players have in their quarterback.
“You know, he’s more confident now so everyone else around him is more confident,” receiver Miles Boykin said. “Making more explosive plays is something we want to do. Part of that is the growth everyone on this offense will experience. You can already see it with Kenny and you’ll see it with other guys, too.”
George Pickens is going to be one of those aforementioned guys. Coming into his second year, Pickens wants to make an All-Pro team. However, he wants to win a Super Bowl more than anything. With that in mind, he sees the big plays through the air having to be something that the team inevitably must get done. Part of that is working in conjunction with the running game on first down to set up situations where they can get explosive plays.
“This is super important,” Pickens said. “We talked about it a lot this year. You know, first down is always important, but it’s even more important this year. Those gains on first down set up all of those go balls and explosive plays, run or pass. So, we talked about it in the meeting rooms, first down is our most important down.”
Pickett is coming in as a leader in a different manner, letting others know what he likes and does not like. Boykin believes that play action could be used more in the offense this year. Could that be one of the ways to create some more explosive plays offensively?
“It can be huge (play action),” Boykin said. “Anytime you have a quarterback like Kenny that is mobile and can move and do different things, it gives the defense an aspect they have to think about. The more things you throw at a defense, the more liable they are to make some of those mistakes.”
Pittsburgh looks to reimagine their offense under Matt Canada heading into his third year as offensive coordinator. Whether they will be successful in creating those explosive opportunities through the air will be a key thing to watch as the months carry on.