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‘It’s My Job’: Kenny Pickett Takes Leadership of Sputtering Steelers Offense



Kenny Pickett

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ offense looks like one of the worst in the NFL. From a lack of explosive plays to missed opportunities, just about everything is there to criticize. However, with Kenny Pickett taking over Pittsburgh’s offense, it now leaves them in a spot where a young quarterback is leading that unit onto the field.

When Pickett entered the contest against the New York Jets, Mike Tomlin wanted to ignite a spark in his team. In Buffalo, it was clear just what that spark could be as the spunky Pickett was rallied around by his teammates. James Daniels called him their franchise quarterback while multiple other players were complimentary of Pickett throughout the postgame despite a blowout.

Pickett is not willing to take a backseat just because he will be entering his second start. And not only that, but he condemned the bashing in Buffalo. That is not an acceptable standard that Pickett sees for the offense or the team overall, and it must be changed starting in the week with practice.

“I’m a young guy still, but at the end of the day, it’s my job to lead the offense and I fully embrace it,” Pickett said. “It’s unacceptable how we played last game. The standard has to be raised, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and it really starts in practice. So, we need better practice habits that’ll translate over to the game.”

Other players often shout Pickett out as the spirit of the offense. He can not speak for those players, but the spirit that he plays with contributes to that feeling of the locker room. Pickett continues to prove that he has a sort of magnetism that players will rally around from the outset. However, if takes a different type of leadership to steer the team back into the winning column. That is what Pickett aims to do moving forward.

“The only thing that’s going to fix this is winning, right? There’s not a pep talk,” Pickett said. “No one can come up here and give a great speech that’s going to turn this thing around. We’ve got to go produce on Sunday. There’s nothing I’m going to tell you here that’s going to fix it. We’ve got to go do it as players, as men.”

Kenny Pickett is an older rookie at 24 years old, and maybe that helps him as he transitions through to leader of the offense. He has a veteran quarterback in Mitch Trubisky to lean on with questions. But a young, ailing offense is a tough leadership job to give a rookie. Pickett, regardless, seems more than willing to step up into those shoes.

“I think we have a great group of leaders on the team, like I said, that we can all bounce off each other,” Pickett said. “I think that’s the difference. The other side, there are one or two guys leading and then there’s some guys that are young that you’re trying to bring along. Up here, it’s a lot different. There’s a collective.”

Heading up against Tom Brady on Sunday, it will be as tough a test as Kenny Pickett will face in his young career. But in order to shock the Buccaneers, Pickett’s leadership will have to be a key factor.