Pittsburgh Steelers rookie receiver George Pickens went viral Thursday night for his one-handed catch. In the video above, former All-Pro WR Golden Tate breaks down the play — from route running to ball security — in the latest edition of The 33rd Team’s Now You Know series.
Editor’s note: In Week 1 of the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 32-25. After reviewing the game, former Steelers coach Bill Cowher gave us his thoughts — specifically on the battle between quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky, rookie Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph.
We saw some pretty good grades all-around for the offense. I think they should be all fired up after Saturday night.
I think what you saw with all three quarterbacks was a job well done. And I think for (coordinator) Matt Canada, it was an endorsement of what he’s trying to do offensively — certainly, with the running game and also with the quarterback under center, a lot more than we’ve seen in the past with Ben Roethlisberger.
I thought they all did a very good job. George Pickens stood out as a receiver, and if you think about him paired up with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool — that’s a pretty formidable set of receivers.
Pat Freiermuth — when he comes back — is a quality tight end and a great target, particularly for a new QB in a system like this.
I thought Mitch Trubisky started off and played very well. He made good decisions and looked athletic outside the pocket. I think that Mason Rudolph looked very good when he came back in. And what Pickett did in the second half of that game, I think, proved what he can be.
When you look at the three QBs — and I’m not sure what the plan is for Week 2 — there’s a lot to be said for what the starter does. You think about a guy coming in off the bench, he has a chance to see the defense, he has a chance to get a feel for the flow of the game, and he sees the first quarterback go in there. So coming off the bench is another element that you have to take into account. Starting is another one — you set the tempo.
I thought Trubisky set the tempo very well in that game on Saturday. We saw his ability to get outside the pocket and make some plays. We also saw this with Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett in the second half of that game.
I would like to see another guy starting, to see if he can continue setting the tempo and see if he is the guy. But Mitch is going to be the guy that’s going to start again (in Week 2 at Jacksonville on Saturday), and I thought he did a very good job (in Week 1).
I think what Pickens showed you is a big guy, tall target with great awareness on the field. I thought what he could do with his feet was pretty good for a young player, particularly when talking about a player going from college in his first year to the pros. You only have to get down one foot in college; it’s two feet in the pros. I thought he looked like a veteran making that touchdown catch. Very impressive; I thought it was a very good start for him.
With the interior line, I’d like to see them play a little bit better, but I think the tackles did a very good job. That’s what training camp is for. That’s what going against a new opponent each week is for.
I think the Steelers are still accessing the situation but I think what you saw overall were some pretty good grades all around for the offense.
In the video above, Matt Cassel discusses the rookies who stood out to him the most in the first week of the preseason. The former NFL quarterback touches on some of the more impressive rookie QBs, including Washington’s Sam Howell and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.
Cassel also highlights some of the players who help the quarterbacks by making plays, including Aidan Hutchinson, the former Michigan Wolverine pass rusher who now finds himself in the Motor City after getting drafted by the Lions No. 2 overall. He was also impressed with the performance of Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Charles Cross.
Lastly, Cassel highlights Pickett’s teammate, George Pickens, the former UGA receiver who finished with three catches and a touchdown last week against Seattle. Cassel believes Pickens will be an important factor in the Steelers’ offense this season.