With coaching camp simply days away, there’s loads to be enthusiastic about as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. The group completed 9-8 and warmed up final 12 months, then rotated and improved the group with some sound strikes this offseason. Whereas there are many causes to be optimistic concerning the 2023 Steelers, Bleacher Report thinks the Steelers ought to be extra optimistic about Kenny Pickett’s development via final season and into 2023.
“The Steelers and their followers ought to be thrilled with the expansion Pickett has proven over the 12 months,” wrote Kristopher Knox. “Pickett is transferring in the proper course, and he ought to present extra development after his second full offseason and first as a longtime starter beneath offensive coordinator Matt Canada. If Canada is able to open the playbook, Pickett may skyrocket.
Pickett went from a quarterback who struggled with turnovers and late-game conditions within the first half of the 12 months to a clutch quarterback who helped lead the Steelers to a profitable document within the remaining sport. Pickett got here into camp final season, locked in a three-way battle for QB1, and by no means had an opportunity to actually put together as a starter earlier than the season.
However now the job is his, and moving into that mindset and doing the work essential to thrive as a beginning quarterback within the NFL ought to assist Pickett transfer ahead. He will want some assist from his offensive coordinator, as NFL Media’s Eric Edholm defined the opposite day, but when Matt Canada expands the playbook and opens up midfield for offense, Pickett ought to present noticeable development.
If Pickett improves from 2022, the Steelers ought to be a playoff group. They narrowly missed the playoffs final 12 months, and going from their mark of 9 wins in 2022 to 10 or 11 in 2023 is actually potential and ought to be anticipated at this level.
The protection is wholesome, the offensive line has improved, and Pickett has gotten some assist in the type of Allen Robinson II. Supplied the protection performs on the degree it reached with a totally wholesome TJ Watt in 2022, this can be a group that ought to rival the highest of the AFC North and make the playoffs.
It is not all about Pickett, because the operating sport additionally must turn out to be extra environment friendly. However Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have additionally improved over the 12 months in 2022, and I might count on them each to proceed on an upward trajectory in 2023. Increasing and opening Canada’s playbook goes to be the wild card, however he just about has to do it to avoid wasting his job. I might be shocked if the Steelers offense was as primary and stagnant because it was final 12 months. If that’s the case, then it may be a dogfight week in and week out, however I am not betting on it.
Pickett’s development goes to be a storyline that follows the Steelers all season, and whether or not or not he makes a soar will largely decide how the 2023 season performs out. I am unable to wait to search out out.