The Steelers failed to score in the first half and only mustered up 10 points in a last-second loss against the Browns on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s conservative approach offensively with Kenny Pickett under center raised some questions about the young quarterback.
Andrew Fillipponi of the Audacy original podcast “1st & Pod” said he’s “very, very close” to calling Pickett a bust and explained why the problem is two-fold after Sunday’s loss to the Browns.
“Very, very close to that,” Fillipponi said of calling Pickett a bust (40:50 in player above). “I think I’m like the yodeler dude from The Price Is Right, I’m right on the edge now with him.”
“It’s two-fold,” he said. “It’s the way he’s played in these games and it’s the way that they’re managing him as a player. They set a very low bar for him and then he can’t even jump over that.”
Pickett completed 15 of 28 passes for just 106 yards against the Browns. He was sacked three times for a loss of 29 yards.
“The Giants opened up their playbook more for Tommy DeVito today than the Steelers did for Kenny Pickett,” Fillipponi continued. “I get it, part of it is you trust your defense against Cleveland and their third-string quarterback.
“But what ends up happening is you’re so conservative, you don’t throw the ball down the field, etc., that when you lose it makes it look like you have absolutely no confidence in the guy and it creates the impression that you can’t win with him because you’re putting him in such a straitjacket or handcuffs.”
So, what hope was Fillipponi holding on to as of Sunday night?
“Not much, frankly, at this exact moment,” he said. “What I’m holding on to is the fact that he’s got seven fourth-quarter wins and come-from-behind wins and appears – although he didn’t do it today – to make very clutch plays with the game on the line so it’s in there somewhere but it’s not there enough. Not even close to enough.”
While the playcalling didn’t do Pickett any favors, the quarterback has to look in the mirror.
“More than anything else,” Fillipponi concluded, “he was what held them back offensively.”