The play of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has been analyzed ad nauseam this offseason. Will he make a big second-year jump? Can he make the Steelers true contenders again in the AFC?
Pickett didn’t necessarily answer those questions during his recent interview with Go Long’s Tyler Dunne. But he made one thing clear — he will get better.
“I don’t believe in that,” Pickett said when talking about an NFL quarterback having a ceiling. “You’re at your ceiling when you hang your cleats up. I’m nowhere near my ceiling.”
QB Kenny Pickett Wants to Be a ‘Street Dog’
Quarterbacks have always needed to be confident. But some of the modern-day NFL signal callers possess a borderline cockiness in their body language.
Joe Burrow has been known to wear attention-grabbing pregame outfits ahead of huge games. Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield also play quarterback with a slight arrogance.
He hasn’t showcased it a lot on the field yet, but Pickett may be cut from a similar cloth.
“It’s walking that line between ‘cocky’ and ‘confident,’” Pickett told Dunne. “But I’d rather be the one way than the other.
“I’d rather have the extreme confidence than be a guy who’s not believing in myself and not having swag when I’m on the field.”
Pickett showcased a little bit of his swag after throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth in the preseason against the Buffalo Bills.
Walking off the field, Pickett performed a celebration that was intended to mimic UFC Fighter Conor McGregor.
Pickett had reasons to show extreme confidence during the preseason. He completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 199 yards with 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
With those numbers, Pickett averaged 13.3 yards per pass and recorded a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
The statistics, though, probably don’t matter all that much to Pickett. He shared with Dunne that a quote from his college strength coach, DeVaughn Gordon, has stuck with him to this day.
One is either a “street dog” or a “show dog.” Pickett tries to be the former.
Pickett Aiming to Win a Championship for Steelers
Other than being a “street dog,” Pickett has one other main goal in mind — win.
Pickett led Pitt to its first ever ACC football championship. Now he has the opportunity to bring another Super Bowl to Pittsburgh.
“I’m doing everything toward being the best at this position. Winning Super Bowls. Winning championships,” Pickett told Dunne. “When you’re so tunnel vision on that, nothing else matters.
“Every Sunday, I walk down that tunnel and tell myself — it’s a peaceful moment — and I tell myself: ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to win today.’ I’m at peace running out of that tunnel because I know I’m prepared to go farther than anybody else on that field is prepared to go.”
Pickett may need to be every bit a street dog to lead the Steelers back to the postseason this year. Pittsburgh has a playoff caliber roster, but the AFC is filled with excellent quarterbacks — Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence.
To compete with those quarterbacks, the Steelers need Pickett to reach his ceiling. Or, as he would put it, keep getting better until he retires.
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This article was originally published on Heavy.com