Kenny Pickett Wants to Bulk Up, Improve Footwork This Offseason
After the end long grind of the longest football season of his career to date, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett decided to take a much-needed and much-deserved break, and spend the start of his 2023 offseason with some downtime.
He made it a week.
“I was going crazy in my apartment,” Pickett said Thursday, appearing on the Pat McAfee Show from in front of his locker at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
“It’s a long year, coming off college and having a full NFL season. It’s like two years of nonstop. It was nice to chill last week. I got back in (this week). It was nice to do some light training. I was with the Pitt boys’ next door, seeing what was going on over there.”
Pickett said he got back to work Monday, and while he’s taking the rest of the January off from throwing, he’s already working toward his second pro season.
The plan for Pickett this offseason is to go down to Florida in February to work with his personal quarterback coach, Tony Racioppi. He also hopes to bring some of the Steelers’ wide receivers along.
While in Florida, Pickett wants to focus on continuing to improve his footwork and really hone his skillset based on the demands of the Steelers offense under Matt Canada.
“It’s tying in what we’re doing offensively now to my footwork,” Pickett said. “Footwork is a huge thing for me. I think if I can get my feet right, then usually the ball goes where I need it to go. I’ll continue to work on off-platform throws, as well. Getting outside the pocket is something I did a lot better toward the back end of the year, extending plays and giving guys chances down the field.”
When it comes to running, Pickett showed good athleticism and escapability in college. But his first season in the NFL came with some tough lessons learned when it comes to the speed of NFL defenses.
“Extending play, I could do it at the college level at like 50%, pretty much jogging,” Pickett said. “Linemen aren’t as fast at the college level. In the NFL, they’re just as fast, if not faster than I am. So the sense of urgency, I would say, when I was escaping, was definitely heightened.”
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Pickett suffered two concussions in his rookie season, one of which came when Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker caught him from behind and threw him to the ground. Pickett now knows that he need to have a little more urgency when it comes to getting away from the prime athletes that are pursuing him at this level. He also left his rookie season feeling that he needs to bulk up a little bit to deal with the rigors of an 18-week season and the hits he took.
“In the combine training, I got a little too lean, I would say,” Pickett said. “I was a little under 220. I want to get a little bit bigger for this season. You’re training for the 40, the (shuttle), you’re not training to be a football player, you’re kind of doing the drills. I wanted to perform well in those, so then I was playing catch-up after that, trying to gain some weight. I want to gain a little bit more weight and have a little bit more muscle mass on me getting into the season after experiencing a lot of these hits.”
After OTAs and minicamp back in Pittsburgh, Pickett plans to also invite the team’s receivers to his hometown in New Jersey for some more in-person summer work before the start of training camp.
Other than that, he hopes to pick the brains of some veteran NFL quarterbacks this offseason about exactly how to establish the best possible offseason routine to take care of his body and his arm after a long NFL season.
“I want to learn some routines on what some veteran guys around the league do,” Pickett said. “I’m just new to it and want to feel out what’s best for myself and what I like.