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Mike Tomlin Won’t Commit to Steelers Starting Kenny Pickett

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Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he was looking for a spark for his offense when he turned from veteran Mitch Trubisky to Kenny Pickett in his team’s 24-20 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, but Tomlin would not commit to a course of action going forward for his team.

“We just thought we needed a spark,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t do much in the first half, not enough offensively, and thought he could provide a spark.”

Tomlin did not rule out going back to Trubisky when the Steelers travel to Buffalo to face the Bills in Week 5.

“I’m not going to talk extended as we sit here,” Tomlin said. “We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win this game. We’ll do it again. But I like to just keep it where we are in terms of what transpired here today. We’ll deal with next week, next week.”

Pickett did seem like he initially provided that spark. He shook off an early interception to lead the Steelers to two touchdown drives, but his second interception, while the Steelers were nursing a late lead, proved to be a significant factor in the loss.

“I thought he did some good things,” Tomlin said. “I thought there was some energy there. We scored some touchdowns. But obviously, we turned the ball over.” 

Pickett said after the game that he got very few practice reps in the weeks leading up to his NFL debut against the Jets, working almost exclusively as Trubisky’s backup in practice.

“You don’t get a lot of reps, but that’s why I have to be turned in mentally, go through every single read that Mitch was getting in practice, in game and watch the film as if I’m the one playing so I could be prepare if my opportunity did come, which it did today,” Pickett said.

The Steelers just had an extended break after their Week 3 loss at Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 22, but chose not to use that time to get more work for Pickett. The team now has four straight games against likely playoff teams at Buffalo in Week 5, against Tampa Bay in Week 6, at Miami in Week 7 and at Philadelphia in Week 8. The Steelers have a Week 9 bye week.

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