When will some Steelers fans stop doubting Kenny Pickett?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have put a bow on their 2023 training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, and as the team prepares for their second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday night many fans are preparing for their favorite past-time.
Bashing the Steelers quarterback.
Before I go any further, I do have to say this is not an entire fan base thing. In fact, it is likely just a small sect of the fan base, but often times they are the loudest. Most fans are people who support the organization, and the decisions they make with the roster.
But then there’s the few who simply don’t agree. The people who will constantly feel as if they could do better, and those people are not completely in support of Kenny Pickett and his potential as the Steelers next franchise quarterback.
The question I asked on Twitter for those who doubt Pickett was simple:
Honest question: At what point will #Steelers fans not question Kenny Pickett as the QB?
I’m not suggesting it is now (plenty still to prove), but is it when he plays a full season? Wins a ring? Makes the playoffs?
What is the line of demarcation he must cross with some fans?
— Jeff Hartman (@JHartman_PIT) August 13, 2023
The responses to this tweet were both telling, and honest.
Look, I get it. When you are talking about Pickett, there are some aspects of this discussion which are known.
- Small sample size in 2022
- Plenty of ups-and-downs throughout last year
Outside of the above factors, and why some people are hesitant to heap praise on Pickett, some can’t get beyond prior biases. There are Penn State fans who will never buy-in or believe in a Pitt quarterback. Likewise, there are Pitt fans who will never turn their back on a former Panther player. This might sound silly to some, but it’s real for many.
Getting back to the initial question, when will fans start to believe, and stop questioning, Pickett at quarterback? It depends on the individual, but here are three factors I’m looking for in 2023 which would silence a lot of critics who aren’t on the Pickett bandwagon.
As I stated earlier, 2022 was a small sample size for Pickett. He didn’t start a game until Week 5, and there were the ups-and-downs throughout the regular season. The year ended on a high note, winning the last 4 games and 7 of their last 9, but I want to see Pickett orchestrate 2022 second-half results throughout the entire 2023 campaign.
Prove the “clutch gene” wasn’t a one-and-done thing
During the Steelers’ winning streak to finish the season, Pickett showed he has that clutch factor in his game. Whether it was the game-winning strikes to George Pickens vs. the Las Vegas Raiders and to Najee Harris vs. the Baltimore Ravens, will this trend continue? Having a quarterback who gets the ball down 3 points with less than two minutes on the clock who can orchestrate that situation with ease is a good thing to have. Let’s see Pickett do it again in Year 2.
When I talk about production, it is across the board. More yards, better touchdown-to-interception ratio, and especially more wins. Across the board, Pickett’s production has room for improvement.
If Pickett can do these three things, throughout the entire 2023 season, there won’t be many areas for fans to nit-pick barring a monumental collapse everywhere else around Pickett on both offense and defense.
What do you think of all this? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to check out more of my thoughts on my “Let’s Ride” podcast from this past week in the player below.
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