The Pittsburgh Steelers expect to have Kenny Pickett back in the starting lineup Saturday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he anticipates the rookie QB starting in Week 16 after missing last week’s game.
“As far as Kenny Pickett, I think the concussion component of where he is is behind us,” Tomlin said. “I think he has to check a box procedurally but, if we were to practice today, he would be a full participant.”
Pickett suffered a concussion early in the Steelers’ Week 14 loss to Baltimore.
Mitchell Trubisky handled the starting duties in Week 15, completing 17-of-22 passes for 179 yards and adding a touchdown sneak. But the Steelers will return the reins to their first-round rookie as they look to close the season on a positive note to build toward 2023.
Pickett will face a Raiders pass defense struggling to slow opponents, allowing 300-plus yards in 12 of 14 games. But the weather in Pittsburgh could be a factor.
“We’ll acknowledge that the weather could be a significant component,” Tomlin said. “Such is life in the national football league and in Pittsburgh.”
Conditions are currently projected to be around 8 degrees Saturday night, with wind gusts between 10 and 20 mph, per The Weather Channel.
Tomlin didn’t sound concerned about the New Jersey native, who played collegiately at Pitt and is seemingly accustomed in the frozen conditions.
“He’s probably better equipped to answer that than I, but that’s an example that we often cite when we analyze people in draft prep,” Tomlin said when asked about Pickett’s experience playing in the cold. Diontae (Johnson) played at Toledo. He’s from Tampa but (played at Toldeo) — that Wednesday night MACtion has probably got him a little prepared. So with all the offensive guys, usually there’s a discussion of some kind and draft analysis of that exposure or what that might look like or if it might be an issue for them. Often times not a significant decision-maker but a variable, certainly.”
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