The Steelers aren’t very good. T.J. Watt is hurt. The odds of the Steelers making the playoffs are minimal.
So, the timetable for playing rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett shouldn’t be determined with an eye toward “saving the season.” That ship is sinking. (Who says Pickett could save the season, anyway?)
What’s best for Pickett should be the primary factor.
What’s best for Pickett is starting him Nov. 13 at home vs. New Orleans. That’s Week 10, the game after the bye week.
The Steelers will be 3-5 by then, maybe worse. Their toughest stretch of games will be past. The extra time provided by the bye week can be used to properly prep for the transition.
A lot can happen between now and then.
Current starter Mitch Trubisky could get hurt.
The Steelers could reverse what we're seeing and do better.
Trubisky could do better.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada could figure it out. (That shot seems longest.)
But starting Pickett in Weeks 5-8 should be avoided: at Buffalo, at home vs. Tampa Bay, at Miami and at Philadelphia. NBC Sports' Peter King projects all four to make the playoffs.
That would be a slaughterhouse, not a training ground.
Accept what is and act accordingly.
But the Steelers have never been good at that.