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Kenny Pickett and the offense confident heading into Week 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have the most difficult schedule in 2023, based on 2022 winning percentage, but they certainly have their share of tough games on the 17-game schedule. One of the most challenging games, if not the most challenging, would be the Week 1 game against the San Francisco 49ers at Acrisure Stadium.

Facing the 49ers defense is no easy test, especially with Nick Bosa back in the fold after signing a mega-extension Wednesday. Nonetheless, the Steelers offense seems to be an optimistic bunch, led by their offensive captain Kenny Pickett. As Pickett said, the group is confident.

“Yeah, we’re definitely confident and way ahead of where we were a year ago and I think everyone’s buying in and we all understand what we’re trying to do.” Pickett told reporters during his weekly media  availability. “We all love the game plan. We all bought in, so that’s the start and we’re going to go out there and do it. So, I think we have to go out and do what we started. I think we’re definitely way ahead of where we were last year.

“Just everyone is playing a step faster. You know, when you’re confident you know your assignments, you know what everything is, you’re just, you hear me talk about playing fast that’s what it is, until everyone 100% knows their jobs and are out there playing free. So, that’s what we need to get to.”

When looking at last season and comparing it to the 2023 preseason, it would seem night-and-day different. Last year the Steelers relied on the “just don’t kill us” mantra by protecting the football and methodically moving the ball down the field. While this was great for time of possession, it wasn’t great for points scored, illustrated by the anemic 18.1 points per game in 2022.

This year’s preseason was the completely opposite of last season. Multiple sets, dynamic players making dynamic plays, and touchdowns being score outside the red-zone. It was quite the site to see, but can Pickett and the boys keep it up?

“Like I said it was the work that kind of led up to preseason now that’s done, now we know we started over to the regular season. But definitely get to see things that we worked on and go out there and have some success. But obviously, going against the best defense in the League, you have to come ready to go.”

There are some national media pundits who are claiming the Steelers, and especially Pickett, still have a lot to prove. However, Pickett isn’t buying that, suggesting he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

“I’m not looking to prove anything. I’m looking to go out and win, find a way to win. This will be a battle for four quarters is what we’re expecting. So, you know, go in there bring our best so we can just get ready for a four-quarter battle.”

When you look at the incredible defense the 49ers deploy on a weekly basis, you could see just how daunting this might be for a second year quarterback, but not Pickett. Instead, Pickett said he is excited not just for Week 1, but the regular season. His first as the team’s quarterback.

“Definitely excited.” Pickett said smiling. “Have a lot of prep that’s gone into it so far, we have a couple of days left. But I don’t know man, everyone’s excited to get back now that it’s Week 1.”

If Pickett and the Steelers offense are looking to prove anything, it could absolutely come by way of beating the 49ers in Week 1, shocking many in the NFL world. It wouldn’t shock the Steelers offensive playmaker though, they seem to be brimming with confidence — and that’s a good thing.

Stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 49ers this Sunday.

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