Kenny Pickett’s debut has been compared to a Hall of Famer with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That isn’t necessarily a good thing.
According to a source, Pickett has thrown seven interceptions, matching Steelers star Terry Bradshaw as the only rookie with five or more picks in their first four career games during the Super Bowl era.
The Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, is not a fan of the turnovers but favors Pickett’s combative demeanor.
According to Tomlin on Tuesday, “He’s playing and playing to win,” according to the Steelers team website. There are some things to be learned, but they aren’t leading to any peculiar discussions between him and me about it.
Pickett threw seven interceptions in his first 13 quarters of play. The Pittsburgh native was selected in the first round, making him just the second quarterback selected in the first round since 1990 to throw three or more interceptions in two of his first four games. The other was Peyton Manning in 1998, playing for the Indianapolis Colts. As a result of following Manning and Bradshaw’s (questionable) footsteps, Pickett is on the route to the Hall of Fame.
In Sunday night’s defeat to the Miami Dolphins, Pickett’s interceptions were particularly troubling. He had three overalls, but two of them involved the Steelers driving before he threw interceptions on consecutive fourth-quarter drives to end any aspirations of a comeback.
Although not the only offender, Pickett has contributed to the Steelers’ 2-5 start, which is the worst for the team since 2013. In his last three games, he has recorded at least one interception. Perhaps not by chance, Pittsburgh’s Week 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-18, was Pickett’s lone start without an interception.
Every week, we need to take care of the ball, Tomlin said. “That’s our approach. Ball security is a key component in and out of our agenda, readiness, focus, how we construct our strategy and his involvement in it.”
Pickett doesn’t appear to be a game manager in the making. He is a first-round prospect with the character and ability to change the course of the game. Tomlin is confident his young signal-caller isn’t overburdened, even if it is not the case. Instead, he emphasizes the intangibles Tomlin praises, convinced that mistakes will stop and success will follow (eventually).
Tomlin is a competitor who hungers for it, saying, “He is a fish in water. It’s a natural thing for him.” Although we would like better results, being in those situations has been enjoyable. Speaking with him professionally and observing his actions, manner, and approach to those situations has been fascinating and energizing.