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Bill Hillgrove Thinks Kenny Pickett is the Answer at QB



Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 26, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove thinks it’s premature to give up on Kenny Pickett. He believes Pickett was just dealt a bad hand with Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator.

“So we’ve been blessed with great centers, so let’s concentrate on that for the number one pick,” Hillgrove said on former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and Mark Bergin’s Bleav In Steelers podcast. “I never believed that Justin Fields talk or the Russell Wilson talk. It’s not a good fit. And so apparently that did get quieted down. And I think what they’ll do is they’ll bring in a better quarterback to give competition to Kenny. And believe me, I watched Kenny at Pitt for five years. He knows how to win. He’s just been a victim of some very challenging circumstances. And I think now with Arthur Smith in charge, Arthur, from what I understand, adapts to the personnel, correct? … And he’s got a hot shot that has to do it his way.”

Hillgrove, who just recently retired from the Steelers Radio Network, is also the play-by-play radio announcer for Pitt football, so he knows all about Kenny Pickett. I’m sure some would think that Hillgrove is biased toward Pickett due to the Pitt connection, but his thought process on the Steelers’ quarterback situation falls in line with what most likely will happen.

All signs point toward the Steelers running it back with Pickett and adding a second-tier quarterback like Ryan Tannehill as a backup option. If the price is right, bringing back Mason Rudolph is also in play.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan said he has “full faith” in Pickett, and though they anticipate adding competition to the position this offseason, the team is excited about the future with Pickett as their starting quarterback.

“I have full faith in Kenny,” Khan said while speaking to the Pittsburgh media at the NFL Combine on Thursday. “He’s shown us some good things. Obviously, there were some issues with the offense and I’m excited about the impact that Arthur Smith is going to have on him. Arthur is very optimistic about Kenny. I know they’ve communicated. We’ll have some strong competition there and we’ll see how it goes.”

Khan reiterated that he believes that the change from Canada to Arthur Smith at offensive coordinator will have a positive impact on Pickett, and he doesn’t expect that to change with the likely addition of at least two more quarterbacks to the roster this offseason.

“Right now we have one quarterback under contract,” he said. “As you guys know, we’re a team that’s always kept three and that’s probably going to be the path that we take. So we have some work to do. We are excited about Kenny and excited about the impact that Arthur Smith is going to have on the offense and Kenny, and Tom Arth also.”