Kenny Pickett has chance to become Steelers’ first locker room leader, says Roethlisberger

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While Ben Roethlisberger thinks veteran Mitch Trubisky should be the Pittsburgh Steelers starter to open the 2022 season, rookie Kenny Pickett has a chance to leave a different mark on the Steelers locker room than even Roethlisberger did in 2004. his first episode of his new podcast SoccerRoethlisberger said a younger Steelers team would give Pickett more chances to lead.

“I think I had a really veteran group,” Roethlisberger said of his rookie year. “Kenny is like, that bunch in there, he might even be older than some of the sophomore guys. It’s a younger group in attack, so it’s not the same kind of pressure. He has a chance to really take this group by the collar and say, ‘I’m the leader of this group.’ »

While Roethlisberger and Pickett entered similar situations, teams not in rebuilding mode with a ground attack mindset and strong defenses, Pickett is part of a much younger team, especially on the attacking side of football. Here are the ages of some of the main starters for each, comparing 2004 to 2022.

2004

RB Jerome Bettis – 32
WR Plaxico Burress – 27
WR Hines Ward – 28
TE Jerome Tuman – 28
LT Marvel Smith-26
LG Alan Faneca – 28 years old
C Jeff Hartings – 32 years old
RG – Keydrick Vincent – ​​26 years old
RT Oliver Ross – 30

Average age: 28.6 years

2022

RB Najee Harris – 24
WR Diontae Johnson – 26 years old
WR Chase Claypool – 24
LT Dan Moore Jr. – 23
LG Kevin Dotson – 25 years old
C. Mason Cole – 26 years old
RG James Daniels – 24
RT Chukwuma Okorafor – 25

Average age: 24.6 years

Put it like this. The average age of this 2004 range was 28.6 years. The the oldest The Steelers’ projected starter is 26, two years younger than the 2004 average. Pickett himself feels like a veteran of that group, nearing team average age after turning 24 in June. As Roethlisberger points out, this offers the possibility of taking over more than in 2004, when Roethlisberger was not considered the leader. That role went to Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward and Alana Faneca.

But Pickett will likely have to be patient before stepping into such a direct leadership role. The odds remain strong that he’ll be the backup quarterback to open the season behind Trubisky, who isn’t much older than just 28 but has a lot more experience. Pickett hopes to have the same initial success as Roethlisberger, but that will hinge on an offensive line that looks a lot worse and a defense that probably won’t be as elite as those mid-2000s units.

Check out Roethlisberger’s first episode below.

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