Steelers QB Kenny Pickett Calls out Teammates After Blowout Loss

Kenny Pickett sacked by Javon Hargrave

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Javon Hargrave of the Philadelphia Eagles sacks quarterback Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Not long after the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (7-0) steamrolled the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett met with the media and publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the preparation level of his teammates.

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett: ‘We Need to Study More’

What got him started was a question about the penalties being committed on the offensive side of the ball, and why they have been such a problem this season.

“Not detailed. Not detailed. Guys need to know what we’re doing. We need to study more. I don’t think we study enough as a group. There’s way too many penalties and stuff like that that we can control. It’s all mental. So for that to happen, there is really no excuse for that. So we have to figure that out and get it right,” he said.

It was such a striking criticism for a rookie quarterback to make that a follow-up question came shortly afterwards, in which he was asked to be more specific about whether the problem centered around the playbook or film study or what?

“Playbook, playbook. We’ve got to know what we’re doing. Not getting in the right spot, not having some procedural penalties, personnel, in and out of huddle. All things we can control. There’s no talent issues,” he insisted, before hinting that he would be taking matters into his own hands in terms of pushing his teammates to study harder.

“We gotta get right there. It starts with me. I’ve got to be more on my stuff getting these guys right and I’ll take ownership of it,” he concluded.

Pickett: ‘It’s Insane to Keep Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again’

That said, the Steelers have a much-needed opportunity to reassess what they’re doing, as the team doesn’t return to action until Nov. 13 when Pittsburgh hosts the New Orleans Saints.

Brooke Pryor of ESPN specifically asked Pickett about the approach to the bye week, and whether the time would be best spent taking the opportunity to reset, or whether it would be more productive to come into work every day in an effort to get better.

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I think we definitely have to get in and get things right and you also need a mental break from it. I’m gonna be here getting it right, so we’re going to look at what we have to do to get better. It definitely can’t be the same,” he said, after a game in which he was 25 of 38 for 191 yards and an interception (66.9 passer rating), this according to ESPN’s box score.

Pickett also fumbled twice, with one of the fumbles forced by former Steelers nose tackle Javon Hargrave, who also had eight tackles (six solo) and recorded two of Philadelphia’s six sacks. Those mistakes came on a day in which the Steelers committed nine penalties and lost 60 yards in the process. That includes both offensive tackles – Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor — being flagged for illegal formation penalties.

“Something’s gotta change,” continued Pickett. “It’s insane to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect something different. We’ve been having these problems all year, so that has to get changed — that has to get fixed. We need to look each other in the eyes and get it turned around.”

Finally, for good measure, he came back to his core theme one more time.

“Like I said, I’m more frustrated with the mental stuff that we’re not doing offensively. You can’t do that at this level, get behind the sticks. We have opportunities to make big plays (but) because of penalties we don’t. That can’t happen.”

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