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Steelers OC addresses report about lack of trust in Kenny Pickett

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 11/18/2022 Steve DelVecchio, Larry Brown Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett. © Michael Longo/For USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are understandably trying to take things slow with Kenny Pickett in his rookie season, but the reigns may not be quite as tight as one recent report claimed.

Longtime Steelers reporter Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was asked in his weekly Q&A this week how often Pickett changes the playcalls he receives from the sideline. Dulac said Pickett does not call many audibles because he “does not have the authority.” There were similar rumblings about Mitch Trubisky when he was Pittsburgh’s starter.

Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada told reporters on Thursday that the team has tried to “streamline” things for Pickett since it is his first year, but the first-round pick has the option of changing plays and protections.

“I think that question has come up. Audibles and checks, we obviously have had checks in our offense forever,” Canada said, via Jeff Hartman of Behind the Steel Curtain. “There are times he goes up there and he has to check, run-to-run, pass-to-pass, based on look, based on technique, based on coverage. There’re protection things he has to do. He is a rookie, but it’s the NFL. Certainly, we’re going to try to streamline everything we can for all of our players to get them to play fast and simplify things the best way we can until we can continue to grow and be more diverse, more creative.”

If you rewatch Steelers games, you will see that Pickett has changed plenty of plays at the line of scrimmage. Dulac may have been exaggerating, as the coaching staff probably does not give Pickett the type of freedom that, say, Ben Roethlisberger had. That is normal for any rookie quarterback.

The Steelers have stuck with Pickett even though he is struggling. The former University of Pitt star has thrown for 1,161 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions in six games. Bill Cowher recently shared his thoughts on how Pittsburgh should be handling Pickett.

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