It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers have found a quarterback

How stinky was that second pre-season game, right?

Yes, despite another last-second win in exhibition play with a 16-15 win over the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday night, the Steelers left their fans and the media with a simple question: ‘WTF?

Why were people asking this question about these Steelers? Shit, where to start? Did Pittsburgh shine in any facet of their second preseason game?

Not really, at least not really at any position other than quarterback – a quarterback, in particular, I should say.

Mitch Trubisky hadn’t really been around long enough to pass judgment on his performance other than “Meh.”

Mason Rudolph looked good again, but aside from blackmailing his bosses, he has about the same chance of winning the starting job as I do.

That brings me to Kenny Pickett, who I think looked terrific on Saturday night. He appeared to be just as balanced as he was in his NFL debut against the Seahawks a week earlier; however, he was a bit more aggressive with his passing and even had most of his “good” in terms of skill position players to throw.

Of course, Pickett also had his “ones” blocked for him along the offensive line, to the detriment of those who lacked the athleticism to move very quickly, but the University of Pittsburgh rookie quarterback is not devoid of such physical abilities.

Although Pickett possesses the athletic prowess to get out of the way when one of his hogs smacks on a block – that’s happened often against the Jaguars – what impressed me most on Saturday was his ability to stand in the pocket and make precise strikes. 15 or 20 yards in midfield as he was about to get a tattoo from a defender coming straight at him fast and hard.

It’s not a hit against Ben Roethlisberger, but that sort of thing — specifically, accurate shots 15 or 20 yards out in midfield — has been lacking on the Pittsburgh offense the past two seasons.

In total, Pickett completed six of seven passes (and wasn’t that the incompleteness on a spike?) for 76 yards and a touchdown. My favorite stat of the night — a number reminiscent of Roethlisberger’s glory days — was Pickett’s yards per passing attempt: 10.9.

History tells us that’s a championship stat for a quarterback.

Obviously, the sample size is incredibly small, but Pickett has had two very strong performances so far in the preseason (he has three misses out of 22 combined pass attempts). Do I expect Pickett to struggle at some point? Yeah, but I think he’s already convinced me that he’s likely to be just a really good quarterback in the NFL.

Another question? Do I think Pickett will be the starter against the Bengals in Week 1? No, but I feel a bit better about the Steelers’ immediate future once Pickett inevitably takes on the role of the team’s top quarterback.

The Steelers still have plenty of question marks and obvious flaws as they prepare for the 2022 regular season, but they seem to have found themselves a good young quarterback.

It’s the kind of thing that no team, good, bad or imperfect, can do without.

The Steelers’ present may be a little tenuous, but their future should be much brighter once Kenny Pickett becomes their starting quarterback.

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