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Pittsburgh Steelers QB situation set to derail Mike Tomlin’s squad, could doom Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett will end up being a good player in this league. It might even happen as a rookie now that he’s replaced a struggling Mitch Trubisky under center for the 1-3 squad.

Pickett came in to open the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets and proceeded to score two touchdowns on the ground, uplifting a disastrous Steelers offense despite what was an humiliating loss to the Jets. This has Pickett in line to start Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills and moving forward on the season.

“Kenny will start this week. We made the change. Obviously, Mitch’s performance was a component of the decision, but not the only component of the decision. I just want to be really clear there. Oftentimes, the quarterback position gets too much credit, too much blame. We haven’t moved the ball fluidly enough to our liking. We hadn’t put enough points on the board. The quarterback is a component of that, but not the only component.”

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in announcing Kenny Pickett as their starting QB

It might very well be too little, too late. Pittsburgh finds itself in a 1-3 hole with a difficult stretch of games coming up. It is throwing Pickett into the fire in hopes of saving what looks to be a lost season.

Related: Pittsburgh Steelers schedule and game-by-game predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers should have named Kenny Pickett Week 1 starter

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We all read the reports and watched the games during the preseason. Pickett didn’t look to be in over his head fresh off being selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft months prior. He made a late push to earn the QB1 over Trubisky in the process.

“The thing that stood out with Kenny from the games is that it hasn’t been too big for him. He has gone in and performed very well and not been overwhelmed by the circumstances and the situations and the pressure. Secondly, he has shown a knack, particularly in this second game, to have poise and anticipation. He made some throws with defenders right up in his face.”

Mike Tomlin on Kenny Pickett during the preseason

Regardless of the level of competition, Pickett performed at an exceptional clip. He completed 81% of his passes for 261 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 124.7 QB rating.

Nothing we’ve seen from Trubisky throughout his career pointed to the former Chicago Bears first-round pick boasting anywhere near the same type of upside as Pickett.

For a Steelers team entering a transition season following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, it made sense to start Pickett out of the gate. Now, four games into the season, it might be a lost cause.

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Pittsburgh Steelers are not putting Kenny Pickett in the best of situations

NFL: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to his two rushing touchdowns in the quarterback’s debut last week, Pickett threw three interceptions. Two of them bounced off the hands of intended receivers while a third was on a last-second Hail Mary attempt. Outside of that, Pickett looked solid in his initial regular-season action.

At issue here is Pittsburgh’s daunting schedule over the next month. It must compete against Super Bowl contenders in that of the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles ahead of a Week 9 bye.

Why throw Pickett into that situation in an attempt to salvage a season that wasn’t going to culminate in a playoff appearance in the first place? Let Trubisky take the lumps and move forward with Pickett starting Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints.

Now, it seems as if the Steelers are looking for Pickett to be their savior. That’s about as foolish as it gets. And in reality, it could impact him long-term while derailing what has already been a disastrous 2022 season in Steel Town.