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Report: Steelers Realize Kenny Pickett Should Have Had Better Support



Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

Things didn’t go smooth for Kenny Pickett on many levels during his two seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. The most glaring problem was his inability to put the ball into the end zone. His 13 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 25 career games is the lowest touchdown percentage in NFL history (1.8%, minimum 500 pass attempts).

There is a major caveat to Pickett’s struggles, however. He was dealt an extremely bad hand with having Matt Canada as his offensive coordinator. Mike Tomlin’s decision to not only hire Canada to be the team’s offensive coordinator, but to bring him back after the 2022 season was a massive mistake.

The Steelers fired Canada after a Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns. But the damage was already done.

According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, “multiple sources within the Steelers organization acknowledged” that Pickett “was placed in poor situations during his two years in Pittsburgh, and wasn’t given the adequate support required for a young quarterback.”

Pickett was the Steelers only quarterback on the roster prior to free agency, so the Steelers had to make additions. But the Russell Wilson signing was not what Pickett expected. He probably would have been fine with a Ryan Tannehill signing, but he didn’t like the fact that Tomlin told him that Wilson would be in pole position to be the starter.

Pickett was irritated by the Steelers supposedly not keeping their word that he would be the clear-cut starter, and he requested a trade. The Steelers obliged and sent him to Philadelphia. That’s when the floodgates for Justin Fields opened up for Pittsburgh.

Pryor claims that the Steelers never assured Wilson that he would start before he signed, and he never asked for any, either.

“Wilson didn’t ask for assurances about a starting job, according to a source familiar with the conversations, and the Steelers didn’t give any.

“He’s competed all of his life,” the source said. “He’s not afraid of it,” Pryor wrote.

Pryor also stated that the Steelers thought learning from a nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion would have benefited Pickett in his development, along with adding extra motivation for the young quarterback.

“One team source said that adding Wilson ‘would have been a benefit to Kenny,’ and the pursuit of Wilson would ‘kick Kenny into gear’ and reignite the competitive fire that had made him so attractive to Pittsburgh in the draft evaluation process. Instead, it did the opposite.”

Pickett revealed in his introductory press conference with the Eagles that he felt like he handled his departure from Pittsburgh the right way.

“I think the communication is what it is. It was behind closed doors. I’m confident with the way I handled it,” Pickett said.

Ultimately, Pickett feels like it was just time for a fresh start after playing seven years in the city of Pittsburgh, accounting for his Pitt tenure. He’ll now get the chance to play for the franchise that he grew up rooting for in Ocean Township, New Jersey.