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Steelers have ‘full faith’ in Pickett despite offensive struggles

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan retains “full faith” in quarterback Kenny Pickett despite his role in the team’s offensive struggles last season.

Pickett played 12 games throughout his second campaign in the league, finishing with six touchdown passes and four interceptions.

He suffered an ankle injury in Week 13 and was cleared to return for Week 17, but Mike Tomlin stuck with stand-in Mason Rudolph for their final two regular-season games, as well as the wild-card defeat to the Buffalo Bills.

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Rudolph led the Steelers to three successive wins to finish the campaign as they reached the offseason, with victories over the Cincinnati Bengals (34-11) and the Seattle Seahawks (30-23) the only occasions on which they broke the 30-point barrier all season.

However, with Arthur Smith taking over as offensive coordinator after Matt Canada was fired in November, Khan believes there is more to come from Pickett.

“I have full faith in Kenny,” Khan told reporters at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday. “He’s shown us some good things, and obviously there were some issues with the offense.

“I’m excited about the impact that Arthur Smith’s going to have on him. Arthur’s very optimistic about Kenny and they’ve communicated.

“Like I said, we will have some strong competition there and we’ll see where it goes. We feel really good about him.”

While Pittsburgh are sticking with Pickett, Khan confirmed they are in conversation with Rudolph about a return as he prepares to hit free agency.

Khan would not be drawn, however, on suggestions the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields was a potential trade target if the Steelers are forced to look elsewhere for competition at quarterback.

“We’ve been in communication with his representatives,” Khan said of Rudolph. “He knows we want him back.

“We have some work to do. Competition makes us all better, and that’s regardless of position. I think that’s just in life, regardless of what you do.

“I’m not going to go into details about the conversations that we’ve had but I can tell you that I have an obligation to look at every avenue that’s out there to try to make us a better football team.”

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