Willie Colon: ‘Kenny Pickett Isn’t As Advertised,’ Says Team Lacks Identity

Earlier today, Former NFL player Willie Colon shared his thoughts on the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. Now, he’s offering his perspective on the Pittsburgh Steelers, stating that neither the offense nor the defense have lived up to expectations.

During an appearance on The Zach Gelb show, Colon was asked to evaluate the Steelers’ performance so far this season, where they currently stand at 3-2 through the first five weeks, but not without some bumps along the way.

“From the offensive side, Kenny Pickett hasn’t delivered as initially anticipated,” Colon stated. “During the preseason, we expected him to be one of those players who would make a big impact. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.”

There was a lot of hype surrounding Pickett and the Steelers leading up to the season. Their impressive performance during the summer training camp couldn’t go unnoticed. The first-string offense scored touchdowns in all five possessions, showcasing explosive plays both in the passing and running game. Wide receivers George Pickens and Calvin Austin III made impressive long touchdowns, while running back Jaylen Warren had a remarkable touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills.

Pickett appeared sharp and poised, suggesting a potential second-year leap, similar to what Trevor Lawrence experienced. However, once the regular season began, the Steelers’ offense struggled. Pickett’s performance regressed, resulting in more turnovers and mistakes, while his completion percentage ranks among the worst in the league, despite his receivers not dropping many passes.

Once again, the offense has suffered from slow starts and has struggled to put points on the board. They are averaging less than 13 points per game and have relied on their defense and special teams to secure victories. In five games, they have only managed to score five offensive touchdowns and have yet to run the ball into the end zone, which is a first in franchise history.

Pickett and the offense must significantly improve after the bye week, or else there will be many questions surrounding their performance, including Pickett’s future, during the offseason.

On the defensive side, the Steelers have shown flashes of brilliance but lack consistency. Colon highlights the loss of defensive lineman Cam Heyward, who has been sidelined since Week One due to groin surgery.

“I see a team that lacks identity. Although their defense is usually top-tier, thanks to players like T.J. Watt and other pass rushers, the absence of Cam Heyward has had a negative impact,” Colon explained.

Heyward has been a cornerstone of the Steelers’ defensive line, and the team is not accustomed to playing without him. This is the first time he has missed games due to injury since 2016. The team has tried various replacements to fill his void, and rookie defensive lineman Keeanu Benton has shown promise, starting at right defensive end in the recent win against the Baltimore Ravens. However, their run defense remains one of the weakest in the league. Heyward is expected to return later in the season, although the exact timing is unknown, with a tentative return around Thanksgiving.

Colon believes that the Steelers need to return to their traditional style of football – a strong running game combined with a physical defense. The challenge lies in the fact that they have been striving for that style for years, yet little progress has been made. Perhaps, that is the most concerning aspect of it all.


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