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Mike Tomlin explains why the Steelers are turning the offense over to Kenny Pickett

The Steelers head coach made the decision to go with Kenny Pickett official Tuesday, and he explained why.

New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a disappointing 24-20 loss to the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium, but not all was bad for the black-and-gold as a new era of football began with Kenny Pickett taking over at quarterback to start the second half.

When you consider what goes into an in-game change at quarterback, it has to be a lot about feel. When Mike Tomlin met with the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference, he talked about what went into the change during the game Sunday.

He pointed to the lack of points on the board, and the offense not “moving the ball fluidly enough for our liking” as the primary reasons for the change, but he also wanted to make it very clear the change wasn’t solely about Mitch Trubisky.

Tomlin talked about all of the components which go into such a change, and he stated “Mitch’s performance was a component, but not the only component of the decision.” Making a decision like the one he made vs. the Jets in-game is not an easy one, and one which he deems to be extremely sensitive for all involved. That wouldn’t just be players, but also coaches who have to understand they all had a hand in the decision being made, and Trubisky being taken out of the game. However, in an effort to be better, the offense, Tomlin and his staff went to Pickett to provide a spark for the offense.

When asked about what Tomlin liked about Pickett’s game, he cited his ability to move the ball, and overall energy he provided for the unit. He also stated he is hopeful Pickett can become a catalyst for the unit moving forward.

For those wondering if Tomlin would go back to Trubisky if the rookie struggles, Tomlin said he had no reservations about Pickett’s capabilities. He did say he has a concern about the environment the team is going into Sunday vs. the Buffalo Bills, but also added he’d be concerned with any quarterback going into that situation.

Pickett’s overall maturity has shown throughout the entire draft process leading up to the Steelers taking him 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Tomlin talked about that maturity, and Pickett being older than most rookies, as a big part of why the Steelers took him in the first round and are comfortable inserting him into the starting role so early. Tomlin said Pickett has continued to get better not just throughout camp and the preseason, but also since the exhibition games ended.

It’s Pickett’s maturity and professional readiness which has Tomlin at ease with his decision.

Tomlin made it very clear the team’s business is winning, and the Steelers have lost three games in a row. The hope is Pickett will be able to provide not just a spark for the team, but wins on their record as he continues to grow and develop. Will he grow and develop into the Steelers’ “next guy”? That’s the hope, but his first start won’t be an easy one, considering the location and opponent in Week 5.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Bills this Sunday in Week 5.

For a complete rundown of Mike Tomlin’s time with the media, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast below: