PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett is heading into the all-critical second season for NFL quarterbacks. However, there is one thing that can not be accounted for on the football field. It is his connection with Steelers teammates throughout the locker room. Specifically, it is more about how communication works between the quarterback and his teammates.
If there has been one area of clear growth from Pickett so far in his second season, his communication would have to be that area. Veteran players seem to be impressed with how Pickett articulates his thoughts and reasoning in every play. He sets clear expectations with his team and works as a leader.
Allen Robinson II has seen players all around the NFL as quarterbacks at this point. He has run the proverbial gauntlet through Jacksonville, Chicago, and Los Angeles. But Pickett’s communication stands out as unique to him. He will point out certain signals to get his guys on the same page. Pickett’s body language as a quarterback is clear and precise on the field. On and off the field, his communication is clearer than ever and he quickly builds rapport with his guys as a result.
So, in asking Robinson to describe what Pickett does that’s so different, a clear part of it was the fact that he simply is so open to everyone. Then, another part is that he energizes everyone around him. However, it’s all built on the back of strong communication with his teammates on and off the field.
“This is all about communication,” Robinson said. “I’m always by the quarterbacks and by Kenny. When you hear their terminologies, listen to their language, see what they see, I’m hearing the play all the time. Kenny does a great job of letting us know all of that. He’s always talking about what he sees and feels. Like, is this route to fast, is this stem wrong, did we not communicate with each other, and all of that. He’s unique in the fact that he goes deeper into what goes into each and every play.”
For Robinson, there is no more important trait than the communication aspect of being the quarterback. It makes his life easier, it makes the offensive line’s life easier, and in general, guys are more willing to follow the quarterback when they let everyone know what is going on. While Pickett has a few on-the-field traits that everyone quarterback should want, it’s the intangible traits that stick out to Robinson.
“The biggest thing with this guy is communication,” Robinson said. “He comes to up to me after the play and he’ll be like ‘if we see this, we need to get to this’ or ‘hey, if I see this I would like to throw this’, and he does that to everyone out there. When watching film, he tells us what he’s seeing. At the end of the day, based on what he’s seeing will take us to the next level. He makes sure we’re all on the same page.”
Connor Heyward said last week that anyone would run through a brick wall for Pickett. Veterans like Diontae Johnson have done their best Terrell Owens impression by calling Pickett ‘my quarterback’. It seems he is absolutely crushing the off-the-field part of the NFL. That can only aid him as he looks to make a second-year leap.