Skip to main content

Opponents on Steelers

The Panthers are talking about QBs, Minkah and Cam

The Steelers will face Carolina on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, and one thing interim coach Steve Wilks knows is whoever lines up under center for the black and gold, they will be in control of the offense.

Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is in the concussion protocol, although he did practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, and there is nothing definitive as to whether it will be him, Mitch Trubisky or Mason Rudolph on Sunday.

"When you look at their situation offensively, I know we're talking about the quarterback being in the protocol," said Wilks. "When you look at Rudolph as well as Trubisky, they both are more than capable of going out and executing and running this offense. I have had the pleasure of coaching against these guys on several occasions and I've gotten beaten by them.

"You look at their mindset and what they try and do offensively, a lot like ourselves. They try to establish the run game upfront. Try to move the pocket a little bit and take their shots downfield. Pretty good receivers in (Diontae) Johnson and (George) Pickens. I think as you saw last week Trubisky was able to get the ball deep and over the top sometimes.

"A lot of respect for all three of those guys and what they are able to do. If (Pickett) doesn't play, I'm sure, Rudolph or Trubisky will be able to run that offense effectively."

If it is Pickett, Wilks likes what he has seen from him so far in his rookie season.

"I think he has a strong arm," said Wilks. "He can make every throw. He makes good decisions being a young quarterback. I think he's done some good things early on."

It's not just the quarterback situation that is on Wilks mind, but also the Steelers defense, a defense he has a lot of respect for.

"They've got it on every level," said Wilks. "(Cameron) Heyward can take over the game at any time. Very dominant. All-Pro player. When you look at Myles Jack on one side and (T.J.) Watt on the other, they are very active in the things that they are doing, stopping the run and creating and getting pressure on the quarterback.

"Big fan of (Minkah) Fitzpatrick. Phenomenal player. The things that he can do on the back end, they move him around all over the place. Plays with great eyes, great anticipation for breaking on the football."

Quarterback Sam Darnold knows he is going to have to be on his toes, understanding pressure is going to be coming at him from the Steelers front seven.

"They've got really good players," said Darnold. "They have really good players up front, their front seven and the back end. They've got them everywhere. And they make plays. They've got great scheme. They've got great coaches over there as well.

"We know we've got to be prepared for a lot. They're really good in man coverage. They're really good in their zones too. Truly have to be prepared for everything. They do a really good job of mixing it up, disguising coverages, disguising pressures. We just got to do a really good job of communicating that."

Related Content