By Jeremy Hritz
The Steelers first preseason contest has concluded with a victory, and in dramatic fashion. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett showed that his Pitt magic still applies in the NFL, as he threw a 24-yard touchdown pass with 3 seconds left on the clock. If this is indicative of the career he will have in the Steel City as a professional, Steelers Nation has much to look forward to.
There were many positives the offense from Saturday’s game against the Seahawks, in addition to many things to work on moving forward. Today, I do an initial rundown of the contest to capture my observations.
- I though all 3 quarterbacks played well, but to me, it was Mitch Trubisky who played the best game, even though he had fewer snaps than competition Mason Rudolph and Pickett. Trubisky’s mobility was refreshing, as was his ability to keep the play alive, and his touchdown pass to Gunnar Olzewski was outstanding.
- Rudolph had the best throw of the game, a 26-yard touchdown pass to rookie George Pickens in the back corner of the end zone. It was a beautiful thrown, and equally a beautiful catch, so props to both QB and WR. However, Rudolph’s flat-footedness is still present, and to me, it is too much of a liability for this team.
- Statistically, Pickett had the best night out of all of the Steelers quarterbacks, and was the most productive in terms of producing points. He showed that the game is not too big for him, though his throws were primarily short, and in the next contest, I’m sure we will see some down the field throws from the first-year player. And converting a 2-point conversion? Kudos to Pickett’s moxie in his debut.
- Jaylen Warren was excellent, and he showed that he can not only be an excellent complimentary back, but also a quality 3rd down runner. He finished the night with 6 carries for 34 yards (5.7 YPC) and 4 receptions for 30-yards and a touchdown. Warren is making this team, no question about it. The question will be, how do they finagle the roster to adjust his new role?
- Anthony McFarland had a solid showing as well, carrying over his quality practices from Latrobe into the game, showing off his burst and vision. McFarland finished the night with 7 carries for 56 yards, including a long of 24. Good to see from the 3rd year player.
- I already mentioned the performances of Pickens and Olzewski, who were solid, but I would also be remiss not to spotlight Steven Sims, who was fast and shifty on a punt return that went for 38 yards, and also had a rush that went for 38-yards. This confirms what I saw from Sims in camp, and again, the Steelers have some interesting decisions to make come roster cut downs.
I’ll have my thoughts on the defense up soon. Have a great Sunday!