TAMPA, Fla. — Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ offense put on a show in their first drive against the Buccaneers’ backups, but it all was topped off with a great touchdown from Pickett to George Pickens. However, how did that play go down? Pickett and the group talked about it, but here’s a general overview.
THE GEORGE PICKENS BREAKOUT SZN IS HERE
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Tampa Bay came out showing single-high, but moreover, they showed man coverage with outside leverage off the snap. For Kenny Pickett, that means that George Pickens, running that slant, should have an opening to fire it to him as long as Pickens gets some separation. There is enough of a step from Pickens out of his break that Pickett feels comfortable to make this throw. But there is nothing too fancy. It is Cover 1 with man coverage on the outside and linebackers buzzing underneath in the curl flat areas. Pickens peaks behind there and Pickett fires it. But that’s not Pickett’s first read. He wanted to work to the left to Allen Robinson II on the curl, but had to work back left when that never opened up because the linebackers played wide.
Pickett broke down his thought process on the play and the key takeaways from it. One was the man beater worked, the second fact that really is interesting here is that Pickens rattled off significant YAC. This is the definition of playmakers making plays after the scheme does its job. Pickens took what the scheme gave him and advanced upon it.
“I was working left and came back to George [Pickens] on it,” Pickett said. “He did a great job. We were working that breaker route with man-to-man coverage so it’s good to see him separate to the left, that was awesome to see.”
That’s what Pickett saw in the play and YAC that Pickens brought out of the play. The move was nothing too special, but it shows Pickens is trying to grow his game in areas that he did not excel in last year.
Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Tampa.