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Ryan Clark: Kenny Pickett’s Grace Period With Steelers is Gone



Steelers Kenny Pickett scrambles as the Steelers face the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2022 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

The Steelers are heading into unfamiliar territory with their quarterback. Kenny Pickett is now entering year two as the starter, something the team has not dealt with since Ben Roethlisberger back in 2005. For Mike Tomlin, this is the first time he has gone through this process with a preordained starter in the post-Roethlisberger era and that can lead to some other questions about how they will handle the situation.

Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark sees the team being urgent with the development. In his words, the grace period with Pickett is no longer there and he needs to show up. On NFL LiveClark dove into what he thinks Pickett must do in his second season to really be a success.

“You had that grace period, that grace period is gone,” Clark said. “This team finished winning 6 of its last 7 games, and when you watch him have a comeback against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens, you expect to see more of that. Now, coming into the season knowing you’re the guy, you have to be ready to lead, you have to be ready on day one to show these guys you can lead them to the promised land. You also have to remember it was an extremely long time between Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh Steelers fans, the organization, and Mike Tomlin isn’t prepared to wait that long. Those expectations are heaped onto Kenny Pickett and that first round draft stock.”

Mina Kimes believes that Pickett showed plenty of good things down the stretch but must get better in the pocket. That is a common sentiment that even quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan touched upon during minicamp. The team is working to get that much better in the hopes that Pickett can take that next leap to another level. But for now, the expectations for Pickett will remain high with better weapons and an offensive line that has been refurbished for him specifically.

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