“I thought he did great (Sunday),” Burrow said. “He can build off of that momentum that he showed. He’s got some young guys around him that he can build some chemistry with. I think he did a great job. I told him after the game to continue to build off of this one.”
As a young quarterback, to get a vote of confidence from a champion is certainly a confidence booster — one that Pickett could probably use right now.
In his postgame press conference, Pickett was asked if he got a chance to watch Burrow from the sideline. “In the middle of a game? No, I can’t. I’m worried about my job and winning the game.”
Pickett and his team watched plenty of footage before their matchup and, more importantly, after their matchup.
What Pickett saw was a complete 180 from Pittsburgh’s September 11 Week 1 tilt with the division rivals, one that he watched from the sideline. Burrow sliced and diced the Steelers’ defense for a season-high four scores and 355 yards. But we all knew that was bound to happen. Joe Burrow is Joe Burrow. It just took him a little longer to re-acclimate after missing a portion of the offseason following an appendectomy.
According to Pro Football Reference, Burrow has thrown for 2,890 yards and 22 scores to eight picks. But he wasn’t always that successful.
Search “Joe Burrow bust” on Twitter, and you’ll find a slew of results of the quarterback being labeled a bust during his rookie season.
In 10 games in 2020, Burrow threw for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five picks. He had a completion percentage of 65.3. He missed the second half of the season after suffering a knee injury tearing his ACL, MCL and other structural issues.
That following season, Burrow passed for 4,611 yards and nearly tripled his touchdowns (34). His performance earned him the AP Comeback Player of the Year distinction. Oh, and he took his team to the Super Bowl.
Joe Burrow Was Right
It doesn’t take a veteran quarterback to know that cohesion takes time when a team is young. When Joe Burrow said, “He’s got some young guys around him that he can build some chemistry with,” he was absolutely right. Keywords: Young guys, chemistry.
Recall Mitch Trubisky was QB1 all of training camp and, not surprisingly, named the starter heading into the 2022 season. Consequently, Trubisky got all the reps with the starters you’re seeing on the field now — Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris.
Because it wasn’t expected that Kenny Pickett would be starting this season and there are only so many first-team reps to go around, the rookie is only six games into developing chemistry and timing with his receivers. Six games. It takes time.
As Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in his November 22 press conference, “Football isn’t a patient man’s business.”
Steelers fans who didn’t live through the 1980s and ’90s need to realize something: Ben Roethlisberger was an anomaly. Quarterbacks like him don’t grow on trees. The number of Pittsburgh Steelers fans calling Pickett an awful quarterback (to put it mildly) and suggesting the team select a quarterback with their first overall pick in 2023 is wild. The guy has played six games, and fans can predict his future.
Pittsburgh might be a season or two away from finding out if Kenny Pickett can be its next franchise signal-caller. Heck, the Philadelphia Eagles only just found out this season that third-year Jalen Hurts was their guy. As long as Pickett starts the 2023 season off on the right foot and helps the Steelers win games, that’s okay.