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Steelers Skill Players Join Kenny Pickett in South Florida Work Outs



Steelers Browns Kenny Pickett Pickens

Kenny Pickett has been in South Florida training with personal quarterback coach Tony Racioppi for the past couple of weeks. And now, a slew of Steelers skill players have joined him to work on their craft and prepare for the upcoming 2023 season. According to several Steelers players instagram accounts, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Steven Sims Jr., Gunner Olszewski, Connor Heyward, and Calvin Austin III are all down in Miami working with Pickett. Mitch Trubisky, who has a house in South Florida, is also working with the skill players.

After averaging 184.9 passing yards per game and having a 7-9 touchdown-interception ratio in his rookie campaign, Kenny Pickett is getting an early jump on developing chemistry and bonding with his wideouts this offseason. It also displays Pickett’s leadership and desire to grow as an NFL quarterback.

Pickett didn’t become the Steelers’ starting quarterback until halftime of the Week 4 game against the New York Jets, so growing pains were to be expected. The passing game was stagnant as Pickett didn’t have the opportunity to get first-team reps with Johnson and Pickens during training camp and the early portion of the season.

The passing game really never took off in 2022, but Pickett did show strides late in the season, becoming the first rookie in NFL history to have a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter in back-to-back games. Pickett did this against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 and Week 17, respectively. Overall, Pickett had four game-winning drives in 2022, all of which came after the bye week. 

According to Pro Football Focus, from Week 12 on among all quarterbacks, the only one with a higher passing grade than Pickett’s 88.5 mark was the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Joe Burrow. Pickett also had a remarkable 97.6 QBR when targeting Pickens this past season. It was the best QBR by any quarterback targeting any wide receiver in 2022 with a minimum of 50 attempts, per ESPN Stats & Information.

The Pickett to Pickens connection should develop even more in 2023. And they’re already working on fostering that in South Florida in late February, which is an encouraging sign.