As Titans' Faith In Willis Wanes, Steelers' Faith In Pickett Could Not be Higher

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Just one year ago, Pittsburgh Steeler fans were arguing vehemently over who the Steelers should take with their 1st round pick.  Fresh off the retirement of the greatest quarterback in the franchise's history (Mom, save the text.  I know you think Bradshaw was still better), fans were looking for an immediate replacement.  One name that was floated out there often, alongside now Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, was Malik Willis.  

In fact, as soon as Willis was named the starter of the Titans for the October 30th game in Week 8, some Steeler fans still upset about the Pickett selection were salivating.  They were prepped to see the guy they wanted the Steelers to take tear up a terrible Houston Texans team.  

Instead, Willis turned in a very below average 6 of 10 for 55 passing yards and 12 rushing yards on 5 attempts performance.  Willis would later turn in equally poor performances in starts in Week 9 and Week 16.  Aside from 40 rushing yards in Week 9 nothing was jumping off the page.  In fact the whole page to that point had been flat.

Meanwhile, right after Week 8, and Willis' first start, was coincidentally when Pickett found his stride for the Steelers.  After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers took their bye week in Week 9.  This was the first time Pickett was given more than a week to receive first team reps since he wasn't the starter in or out of camp.  This extra prep time showed in droves.

The Steelers would go on to win 7 of their next 9 games and turn a 2-6 start into a 9-8 record.  In both Week 16 and Week 17, Pickett drove down the field in the final minutes of each game to secure victory for the Steelers.  Confidence in the rookie could not have been higher as the season ended.

And it showed in the way in which the Steelers built the offensive line and the wide receiver corps this offseason.  The organization is looking to build around Pickett instead of replacing him.  He is clearly the franchise's pick to be "the guy" to replace Big Ben. 

Now let's take a trip to Nashville.  Per Peter King of Pro Football Talk, the Tennessee Titans have 'lost faith' in second year quarterback Malik Willis.  Now, I'm not a huge Pro Football Talk guy, but I'll also be the first one to admit that I have no sources when it comes to this stuff.  Aside from one or two Pitt Football rumors I've received texts for, I'm really just an opinion guy.  Peter King is in the trenches, talking to those that know this stuff.  I'll trust him on this one.

So, those of us who are Pickett fans (me included) are doing our best, "well, well, well" today as the pendulum swings in our direction.  Those of us who wanted Kenny Pickett over Malik Willis are starting to look pretty smart right about now.  Could it change?  Absolutely.  And it could happen as soon as Week 1 of this upcoming season.  But for now, I'll proudly take the W in the Pickett vs Willis showdown.