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Kenny Pickett takes second-team practice reps as part of the team’s “plan”

With the first week of the 2022 NFL preseason in the books, Chris Simms and Mike Florio reflect on performances from young QBs with a round of Word Association.

George Pickens has created a buzz, but then, so has Kenny Pickett. The rookie quarterback threw the game-winning touchdown pass with three seconds remaining in his preseason debut, finishing 13-of-15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

In Monday’s practice, Pickett took the majority of second-team reps.

The Steelers insisted it wasn’t a promotion, but rather part of the plan.

“Yeah, we’ve got a system in place,” Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada said, via Mark Kaboly of “Coach, we’ve had this thing mapped out since I don’t know when. We’ll continue to stay right on our plan and see where it goes.”

The “plan” is what coach Mike Tomlin announced the Steelers would put together shortly after signing Mitchell Trubisky and drafting Pickett with the 20th overall pick. No aside from Tomlin, Canada and quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan seems to know what the “plan” is beyond Trubisky taking the first-team reps in preparation for the season opener.

Mason Rudolph was the second quarterback to play in the first preseason game, replacing Trubisky on the third series. Pickett played the second half, seeing the most snaps among the three quarterbacks with 32.

“The plan is the plan,” Canada said. “But how you play does matter. I don’t act like we’re just going to stick to it no matter what happens. Don’t pencil me into saying something like that. But we have a plan, and until something drastically changes it, we’re going to continue to methodically go through our plan as we see it. Obviously, there’s unbelievable urgency every day.”