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Matt Canada: I think Kenny Pickett’s had a good spring

Chris Simms tells Mike Florio how Kenny Pickett moved up to No. 25 in his Top 40 QB Countdown, given his ability to throw accurately under pressure and his feel in the pocket.

After entering his rookie season behind Mitch Trubisky on the depth chart, Kenny Pickett is the Steelers’ unquestioned QB1 heading into 2023.

Pittsburgh went 7-5 in Pickett’s 12 starts last season. The club is looking for a significant step forward in Pickett’s development for 2023 and offensive coordinator Matt Canada noted last week that the QB is headed in the right direction.

“I think Kenny’s had a good spring,” Canada said in his Wednesday press conference. “Obviously, every day is up and down, and you know, when you play quarterback and coach [Mike] Tomlin says it the best right? It’s football like no football. So, I think he’s improving. He’s seeing things. Playing fast. Getting some time in with the guys. He does what he needs to do to become the starter.

“Last year, he was learning, and we had obviously different situations. I think Kenny had a very good spring and I’m excited about where he is.”

Canada added that because it’s Pickett’s second year in the system, they have some familiarity in knowing what the QB likes, what he’s good at, and what he can still build upon. One thing Pickett did well as he gained starting experience last year was avoid turnovers, as he had just one in his last eight starts. But Canada noted that there should be a balance between being cautious and being more aggressive to hit big plays.

“But again, if you look at the stats and go through them, the games that we turn the football over, we didn’t win and that doesn’t mean you can play afraid not to make a mistake, but you have to — there’s a line there,” Canada said. “You can’t just go out there and wing it around. We have an organizational plan of what we’re going to do, we got a tremendous defense standing out there that’s going to play really good, we’re going to put our special teams in a good spot. All those things add up for us to win.

“Stats are great, but we’ve got to do our part and we’re going to be really, really good at doing that on offense, but ultimately, it’s only about winning.”

As a rookie, Pickett completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,404 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.