Preseason-shmeseason. While games and their final results don’t mean squat, it’s hard not to be excited and impressed with what the Pittsburgh Steelers rolled out in the three-game span.
As was the result in 2022, the Steelers wrapped an undefeated preseason. But this year, the highlight was undoubtedly the play of second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, who opens the season as QB1 for the first time since being drafted 20th overall in 2022.
Though it was a small sample size — Pickett only played five drives — he scored touchdowns on two of them. As a team, each drive ended in the end zone.
Overall, Pickett went 13-of-15 for 199 yards — a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Per ESPN’s NFL Live, he’s the first quarterback in the last 25 years to do so.
— Allison Koehler 👀 (@AKoehlerNFL) August 31, 2023
This is precisely what Steelers fans hoped to see from Pickett (and his offensive line), and he answered. Now he has a wave to ride into the regular season, which opens September 10 at Acrisure Stadium versus the highly-touted San Fransisco 49ers.
Lifelong Steelers fan and University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari credits Mike Tomlin with Pickett’s preseason prowess.
“I love the guy because he’s a player’s coach, but he holds them accountable,” said Calipari. “The biggest thing he does is he builds confidence because they’re going to struggle some, and he’ll keep that ship straight.
“The exact right coach for Kenny Pickett is Mike Tomlin. Mike’s gonna build him up. I think Kenny could be the breakout player. He could be that guy, and I think Mike will help him, and that will be the goal.”
Not only are fans hyped about Pickett’s potential this season, but the media is, too. Many predict him to have a breakout season, including Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager, who has him atop his annual 2023 breakout players list.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) August 31, 2023