Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has had somewhat of an up and down start to his NFL career. His first few games were a brutal stretch against the top teams of the NFL, including a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he exited early due to a concussion. But since the bye week Pickett has looked more comfortable in the pocket and throwing down the field.
During the Mike Tomlin Show today, streamed via the Steelers YouTube channel, host Bob Pompeani and head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Pickett’s improved performance with Pompeani referencing his accuracy and poise. Tomlin, due to him being around Pickett virtually 24/7, talked about some other characteristics that he has seen grow since Pickett was drafted.
“I see those things” Tomlin responded to Pompeani’s comments about Pickett’s accuracy and poise. “I also see a competitive spirit that you can’t put a price tag on. I think that’s what makes him attractive to his teammates from a leadership perspective. He’s got a can-do attitude. He’s always playing to win and you want to do business with guys like that.”
While Pickett’ stats have not been great this season, throwing only three touchdowns to eight interceptions, his leadership on and off the field has been excellent. Alex Kozora touched upon his leadership ability in an article he wrote last night.
Throughout the draft process and even this season many have said Pickett has the “it” factor, and Tomlin’s quote seems to back it up. Pickett hates to lose and has the ability to rally the troops. With this can-do attitude even when times get tough he can rally his teammates and lead a big drive down the field to get the team back into the game.
This actually happened on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. After a sluggish start to the second half where the Steelers blew a 13-point lead in the third quarter, Pickett rallied his offense down the field to start the fourth quarter, converting a couple of huge third downs and leading the game winning touchdown drive.
It would have been very easy for the Steelers offense to go into a shell after the first two three and outs as it seemed like the game was playing out like the previous week when Pittsburgh’s offense could not get anything going against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half and lost a game they were leading at half time.
Instead, Pickett made huge throws and even called a play to give third string running back Benny Snell Jr. a carry on third and goal which ended up being the game winning touchdown. It would have been very easy for Pickett to want to call his own number or try and lobby for a pass so he could get on the stat sheet with a touchdown, but instead he saw how Snell was running throughout the night and called his number.
It does not seem like Pickett has a big ego and wants all accolades to himself, instead he wants the team to win. That team first attitude has led the Steelers young offense to rally around him. While it may not result in much this season, it is laying the groundwork for a dangerous Steelers team in the coming years.