Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

A Letter From the Editor: When is the sample size big enough?

The other day I was partaking in my typical “Twitter nonsense”, as my wife calls it, and I noticed there was a discussion taking place between Steelers fans regarding Kenny Pickett.

Shocking, I know.

While Pickett remains a lightning bolt of controversy with fans, one way or another, several people in this particular thread were talking about how they’ve seen enough of Pickett.

“He’s not him. I’ve seen enough.”

I didn’t comment, but it did make me think.

Have we seen enough to make a proper judgement?

Answering that question truthfully is difficult because it ultimately depends on the person. If they support Pickett, and always have, they will always see the turnaround coming. The flip side of that are the people who are constantly throwing shade at Pickett no matter the result in the game.

On my Friday episode of “Let’s Ride” I asked my guest, Dale from Average Cheese Podcast that focuses on the Packers, what he thought about the sample size argument. I always felt there are a lot of parallels between Pickett and Jordan Love. Both are replacing legendary players, and both haven’t had a ton of time in the league. Yet, some might say they’ve had enough time to prove themselves.

The question caught Dale off guard, and he struggled to answer. He finally said maybe one season would be sufficient. He then hesitated in realizing maybe even one full season wasn’t enough. You can hear the full dialogue in the podcast player below this article.

I then asked SCN’s own Jeremy Betz the same question in the “All Betz Are Off” segment, and he vehemently disagreed with any amount of time being “enough”. Stating how circumstance is a huge part of the discussion for any NFL player coming into the league.

Dale wasn’t sure, and Jeremy certainly stood his ground on saying what we’ve seen of Pickett, especially in the current offense, isn’t nearly enough. As for me? I have no clue. I think some players take time to develop, and yet some never do.

After 20 starts to his name, here are Pickett’s statistics:

W-L: 12-8
Completion %: 62.4
TD-INT: 13-13
Rating: 78.5

I could dive deeper, but what I also noticed when I looked up those basic statistics were how many metrics have improved from 2022 to 2023, as they should from a rookie to second year player.

Games: 13 (started 12)
TD: 7
INT: 9
Completion %: 63
W-L: 7-5

Games: 8
TD: 6
INT: 4
Completion %: 61
W-L: 5-3

These numbers for either year aren’t earth-shattering, but you can see some improvement being made. The fact defensive coordinators have a year of tape on Pickett should also have some realizing a sophomore slump is a real thing for some players.

The truth of the matter is you can’t compare Pickett to anyone. I could find a quarterback like Josh Allen who had plenty of struggles early in his career but found a way to overcome them and say Pickett is on that same trajectory. But that does no one any good. Why? Pickett isn’t Josh Allen. Literally different players. Because of that I only compare Pickett to himself in 2022.

Have we seen enough? Depends on the individual. I now allow you the opportunity to state your case in the comment section below, but I’ll say I’m willing to give the quarterback more time to prove to us all whether he is, or isn’t, that guy. I don’t feel anyone needs to make that determination right now.

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