A quarterback’s best friend is his offensive line. And Kenny Pickett is making sure he knows his front five real well for this upcoming season. Rookie offensive tackle Broderick Jones spoke with reporters following Thursday’s practice, noting the offensive line goes out to dinner once a week. But it’s not just the o-line. Pickett never misses the get together, either.
“The o-line, we go out once every week,” Jones said per reporter Amanda Godsey’s YouTube channel. “I haven’t paid yet. Everybody takes turns. Kenny, he comes every time just because he’s the QB. It’s good to be around him, have fun with the o-line.”
Though Jones is new to the NFL, not every team in football has their starter voluntarily attend weekly o-line dinners. It’s not the default responsibility of a quarterback. But it’s another reminder of Pickett’s commitment to lead the team, on and off the field, and showing up on a weekly basis endears himself well to the offensive line room.
We got a look at one of those dinners several weeks back when Kevin Dotson posted one of the dinners on his Instagram story of the o-line – and Pickett – breaking bread.
It’s also nice to know the Steelers’ o-line is coming together, just as the previous group of Villanueva/Foster/Pouncey/DeCastro/Gilbert and the gang did. Bringing that back is an encouraging sign of unity for a group who must have chemistry.
Later in the interview, Jones was asked to describe Pickett’s personality.
“He’s pretty chill. Pretty laid back. A good dude.”
That’s generally the read on Pickett, at least off the field. But on it, he stepped up to lead the NFL’s youngest offense to a resurgent second half stretch last season, going 7-2 after the bye week and nearly sprinting their way into the playoffs.
Entering 2023, Pickett is the team’s unquestioned starter and enters this fall with high expectations. In a fiercely competitive AFC North and conference at large, Pickett will have to step up and win games late, as he did last season against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. Winning in divisional play will be paramount and hotly contested. There’s no better illustration than the divisional record of each AFC North squad last season.
Cincinnati Bengals: 3-3
Baltimore Ravens: 3-3
Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-3
Cleveland Browns: 3-3
Only the AFC East saw two teams finish the year 3-3 inside the division. In the North, from top to bottom, they all split. This season is likely to be close again, meaning the team that can even go 4-2 against its divisional foes might be the team that takes its crown. For the Steelers to do that, they’ll need their o-line, and their quarterback, to play as well on the field as they do at the dinner table.