All season, former Steelers offensive lineman Trai Essex has been extremely critical of current Pittsburgh players and coaches, with goals ranging from starting running back Najee Harris to offensive coordinator Matt Canada. On Monday, shortly after Pittsburgh’s 24-17 comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts, he offered his assessment of Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who was making the seventh start of his young career.
“I have to give Pickett a solid B for that performance. He played winning football, but he left some plays out there. All in all it’s nice to see him improving week by week.” tweeted Essexa Steelers third-round pick in 2005 who won two Super Bowls with the organization before retiring after the 2012 season.
Undoubtedly, one of the plays Pickett left on the field was the 12-yard sack that Pickett absorbed in the second quarter from the Colts’ defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. That sack put the Steelers out of field goal range and forced them to stab for fourth place.
Mitchell Schwartz, a former offensive tackle for the Browns and Chiefs who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City in 2019, took to Twitter to illustrate how Pickett was to blame for the 12-yard loss and argued that the game was perfect was blocked by the offensive line.
“It’s entirely up to the QB that he has no idea he’s hot and holding the ball.” concluded Schwartz.
Despite this, Pickett posted a career-high passer rating against the Colts (87.5) after completing 20 of 28 passes for 174 yards. Notably, he hasn’t thrown an interception against the Eagles since Oct. 30.
Before the game Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell wore a t-shirt That was a tribute to the late Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was on course to be part of Pittsburgh’s QB room for a second straight season before being hit and killed by a dump truck on April 9 of this year.
Campbell, 25, played alongside Haskins at Ohio State before being selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. In fact, 2018 was Campbell’s best collegiate season while Haskins was the Ohio State quarterback. That year he had 90 receptions for 1,063 yards and a dozen touchdown catches.
After Haskins’ death, both ESPN’s Adam Schefter and former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt came under fire for comments made after the accident. For his part, Schefter highlighted Haskins’ struggles in the NFL while breaking the news of his death.
Meanwhile, Brandt, as he later admitted, made careless and insensitive remarks about Haskins — comments Steelers captain Cam Heyward called “disgraceful.”
Campbell also responded to Brandt’s words.
“Excuse my language… but make fun of me,” Campbell tweeted in response to the former NFL executive. “There’s no way you can say something like that right now. All the people who are grieving right now… and you’re saying that?”
As for Monday night’s game against the Steelers, Campbell had two catches for 14 yards. So far this year, Ohio State’s product has 46 receptions and 454 yards and three touchdown catches, according to the Pro Football Reference.