The Steelers are not optimistic that starting quarterback Kenny Pickett will play against the Tennessee Titans. On Monday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the team is concerned about Pickett’s rib injury and that it’s unlikely that he will play on Thursday.
“They have a short week, I did not sense a lot of optimism, guys that Kenny Pickett would be able to go on Thursday,” Rapoport said. “That means Mitch Trubisky would go on Thursday.”
From @GMFB: #Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is expected to miss the rest of the season, while there is not a lot of optimism for #Steelers QB Kenny Pickett on a short week… plus the trade deadline looms. pic.twitter.com/gRrU1hdG0R
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 30, 2023
Pickett was injured late in the second quarter, when he took a hit from Jaguars defensive lineman Adam Gotsis and was driven into the ground. Pickett was examined for a rib injury during the half. He returned to the field and warmed up, but was ultimately ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Tomlin confirmed that Pickett had a rib injury but did not explain his prognosis.
“I don’t have any understanding of that,” Tomlin said.
If Pickett can not play, the team will need much better play out of Trubisky than what they got in the second half of the team’s loss against the Jaguars. Trubisky threw two interceptions, one costly, and into triple coverage on a post route to Allen Robinson II. Pickett’s prognosis will be critical for the Steelers as they gameplan for Thursday’s clash with the Titans.
“We don’t have a lot of time to absorb the result of this,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got a short week. And so we’ll do so quickly and turn our attention to planning toward Tennessee.”
Pickett completed 10 of 16 for 73 yards before leaving with the injury. He was replaced by Trubisky, who completed 15 of 27 for 138 yards but also threw those two interceptions. Trubisky is in line to start against the Titans if Pickett cannot, and the team’s offense will have to rally around the veteran backup.