Good Wednesday to you Steelers fans.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Team President Art Rooney II, on the very day I pondered when he would make his yearly appearance in this very space, spoke of many things to the assembled press Monday. I detailed some of the key parts of his press conference Monday evening, but today I’m focusing exclusively on the comments related to Kenny Pickett. In the last 48 hours or so it’s been interesting to see how ARII’s comments have been taken, especially in light of the new offensive coordinator hire. The best summation I can come up with is that the organization is fully supportive of Pickett but they also acknowledge two things; he has to get better and Mason Rudolph is wanted back on this team. What that means for Pickett can best be described by saying, “next season he’s on a short leash.” The hiring of Arthur Smith tells me that Mike Tomlin feels he is the best option to get the most out of Pickett. He’s a run-first guy who uses a ton of play-action. Those are both things that can greatly benefit Pickett but this is really up to him to get the job done regardless of who his coordinator is.
Senior Bowl Notes
- Mike Tomlin shook hands with Oregon QB Bo Nix yesterday. Do not take this to mean “we are drafting a QB.” It was a handshake for crying out loud.
- Penn State CB Kalen King met with the Steelers. He played opposite Joey Porter, Jr in 2022.
- Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton spoke with Mike Tomlin at length on the field during practice. He would likely be a ‘play and play’ guy at right tackle.
- Keep an eye on Oregon C Jackson Powers-Johnson. Saw time at both Center and Guard yesterday and he looks the part. He is the definition of “plays through the whistle.”
- I’d really like to see the Steelers add a true option at the slot receiver position. Roman Wilson of Michigan fits perfectly. Runs all the routes, has the quicks and is tough.
There is a normal amount of speculation that with Smith now running the offense that Najee Harris will become his version of Derrick Henry. Let’s just throw a wet blanket on that right now. Najee is not Henry and it isn’t fair to him to say that he is. There are some similarities for sure but Harris is a different kind of runner, period. The interesting adjustment for Smith will be how he utilizes two quality backs in Harris and Jaylen Warren. Stay tuned… Smith is also known to be a guy who gets his tight ends involved. I’m all for more Pat Freiermuth but that also means Darnell Washington has to become more of a threat as a receiver too.
Now that the OC position is settled, the Steelers have to find a Quarterbacks coach who can get the most out of Pickett and whoever else is in the QB room. I’m not saying that Mike Sullivan did a poor job at all, but they have to find someone who can elevate these QBs to a different level.
Art Rooney II said that the current lease for Acrisure Stadium is up in 2030 but that the team would like to get 10-20 more years out of the facility. If you talk with people who frequent numerous NFL stadiums they will tell you that the Acrisure is not where it needs to be in terms of a gameday experience. While it would be a devastating blow to the city and downright awful in my opinion, I still wonder if building some massive, retractable roof type thing isn’t coming to an area outside the city. Being able to use the facility year-round is something more and more teams are doing.
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