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Kenny Pickett (and His Hands) Get First Real Cold-Weather Test



Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett has played in Pittsburgh and Acrisure Stadium for six years. He has experienced wet days, sunny days, snowy days, and especially, cold days. But winds that could gust over 40 miles per hour in 8-degree weather with snow on the ground is not something that Pickett has dealt with during his time at Pitt or the Steelers.

The concerns throughout the draft process about his small hands have been brought up again throughout the week. After all, this is Pickett’s first true game with the incolimate weather and more importantly, the cold weather. Pickett will be wrapped up to stay warm throughout the day.

“I don’t know,” Pickett said. “You can’t prepare for that, really. Seven degrees, whatever it’s going to be, just go out there and play. I’ll wear a thicker thermal and maybe put on a ski mask. I’ll ask George [Pickens] which one he prefers, and I’ll rock the same one GP [George Pickens] is rocking and we’ll be good to go.”

Thus far on the season, Pickett only has fumbled three times and he has not fumbled after the bye week, his last two coming against the Dolphins in Miami. Pickett may not bring the strongest arm to the table, either. So, he will have to uncork the ball to rip through the gusts of wind throughout the night. It will be a true test of the Pittsburgh elements in a game that Pickett has not seen even in his time in Pittsburgh to this point. But Pickett is excited to approach the challenge.

“Maybe the teens. I don’t know if I’ve ever hit single digits,” Pickett said. “I don’t know if you feel much of a difference, but I’m sure the wind will be a little bit of a factor. We’ll see. Excited to see what it feels like.”

While Pickett has true test with the Pittsburgh elements awaiting him, so does Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. In his NFL career, Carr has played in six games where the temperature was below 37 degrees. He has lost all six games, posting a record of 0-6 in such games.

However, lowering it to freezing temperatures below 32 degrees like the ones this game will be conducted in, Carr falls off a cliff. He is 0-4 in such games and the Raiders score only 14.3 points per game. Morevoer he has a modest passer rating of 68.2 and has thrown two touchdowns to three intercpetions in those situations.

“It is what it is,” Carr said. “Anytime I’ve ever gone into one of these games, usually if it’s raining or stuff like that, you can prepare. But just cold, 90 percent of it’s mentality or probably more. You just set your mind because you know they’re playing in it, you’re playing in it. At the end of the day, you have to execute at a high level. And so for us, it’s all about the execution of the football plays.”

It will come down to which rushing attack can truly rise to the occasion, and which quarterback can make the plays necessary to allow the teams to win the game. But regardless, expect a likely low-scoring affair at Acrisure Stadium on Saturday.

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