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Ryan Clark Rips Steelers QB Plan: ‘Dead Wrong’

Ryan Clark believes that it is ‘dead wrong’ to stick with Kenny Pickett as the Steelers’ starting quarterback moving forward.



Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Clark
Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark at training camp, Aug. 8, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ reported quarterback plan that would see the team give Kenny Pickett another shot while bringing in another veteran for competition has caught some fire around national circles. Pittsburgh has ‘full faith’ in Pickett under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, but even some former Steelers are coming out and blasting the plan.

Ryan Clark joined Get Up, believing the plan to stick with Pickett moving forward is ‘dead wrong’. The reasoning is simple and it’s that the Steelers will not be able to beat the top teams in the AFC with their current quarterback situation.

“If they do all that, it is going to be on-brand for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it’s going to be dead wrong in this situation,” Clark said. “You’re going to strap your team to a quarterback that can’t lead you to the promised land. The reason the Terrible Towel means something, the reason that six Lombardis mean something is because that organization was built on excellence. Kenny Pickett is not going to be your leader to the promised land of excellence. And if he’s not, I do believe it is time to do something different at that position.”

The Steelers, who are seeking competition for incumbent starter Pickett, have been repeatedly linked as a potential free agent destination for Russell Wilson. Mike DeFabo of The Athletic said the Steelers are not   interested in Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins and are not actively looking to trade for Justin Fields.

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 Matt 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.”

So whoever signs or is traded for, or is drafted to be the other quarterbacks in the Steelers’ room should understand that they are competing for, not usurping Pickett’s role as they enter.