Steelers GM Omar Khan backs QB Kenny Pickett to excel under OC Arthur Smith

The 2023 season was a huge struggle for head coaches and franchise quarterbacks. While multiple coaches lost their jobs, many quarterbacks went down with season-ending injuries. Kenny Pickett also witnessed the challenge of back-to-back injuries, albeit he didn’t fall prey to a season-ending injury like Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson.

The season is now over, and the Steelers are now eyeing revamping their roster for the upcoming season. Pickett couldn’t showcase his best form last season, but the team’s general manager, Omar Khan, seems to have his full trust in the QB.

Omar Khan talks on Steelers QB situation

Omar Khan expressed his unwavering confidence in Kenny Pickett on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Steelers offense faced criticism for its lackluster performance with Pickett as the signal-caller. However, Khan is optimistic about the positive impact.

“I have full faith in Kenny. He’s shown us some good things, and obviously there were some issues with the offense,” Khan said.

The Steelers GM believes new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith will have an impact on the quarterback’s development. He highlighted ongoing communication between the player and coach duo.

“I’m excited about the impact that [new offensive coordinator] Arthur Smith’s going to have on him. Arthur’s very optimistic about Kenny and they communicated, and like I said, we will have some strong competition there and we’ll see where it goes. Feel really good about him.”

Khan was also pressed about potential quarterback competition, especially regarding trade possibilities like the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields or the Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson. However, he remained tight-lipped, saying his responsibility to explore every avenue to enhance the team’s performance, and kept details of any discussions private.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport previously reported the organization’s strong confidence in Pickett as a cornerstone for the franchise beyond the current season. In terms of internal competition, the GM hinted at the possibility of Mason Rudolph as a contender for the QB position. He expressed the team’s desire to retain Rudolph and revealed ongoing communication with Rudolph’s representative.

Kenny Pickett’s performance in 2023 NFL season

Kenny Pickett started in 12 games, guiding the Steelers to a respectable 7-5 record. He amassed 2,070 passing yards, accompanied by six touchdowns against four interceptions in these matches.

In his most prolific outing, the signal-caller amassed 278 passing yards, but he only achieved a multi-touchdown game once. Nevertheless, he guided the Steelers to their highest offensive output of 26 points in a Week 2 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Kenny Pickett
via Reuters

The QB’s season was marred by constant injuries. A bone bruise in Week 4 was the first indication of trouble, albeit it did not force him out of any games initially. A more serious rib injury in Week 8 sidelined him for the latter half of that game. The most significant setback occurred in Week 13, when he suffered a high ankle sprain.

This injury saw him replaced by Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph in subsequent games. It ultimately left him watching from the sidelines as Rudolph started the final three games of the season, including the Steelers wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills. Rudolph was phenomenal on the field, and his connection with receiver George Pickens was laudable as well. The Steelers will now have to think carefully about their QB room surrounding Pickett and Rudolph.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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