Sunday’s game at Cleveland features quite a quarterback matchup: An ex-Pitt QB against the QB who lost to Pitt in last season’s Sun Bowl. Kenny Pickett vs. DTR. (His full name is too long to type out.)
Pickett has 21 NFL starts under his belt. DTR has one.
Pickett’s QB rating is an unimpressive 76.7. DTR’s is a laughable 28.0.
But here’s betting that the Steelers deploy Pickett in scared fashion as befits their unspoken lack of confidence in him, and that the Browns turn DTR loose. Let him play. Attack the middle of a Steelers defense crippled by injuries to safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and inside ‘backers Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander.
The Steelers live in their fears. The Browns don’t. (Probably not.)
That’s no guarantee to work. DTR might suck, or choke on the situation. He couldn’t even beat Pitt in the Sun Bowl.
But with starting QB Deshaun Watson out for the year, the Browns will use DTR in a fashion that takes risk by way of trying to improve.
The Steelers don’t do that with Pickett, and he’s their long-term starter. We think. This year and next year, anyway.
For the Steelers, it’s always about squeezing out the next win. Mike Tomlin refuses to ever indulge in big-picture thinking.
That’s how you always have a winning season, but don’t win a playoff game in six years.