On Thanksgiving, the Pittsburgh Steelers practiced against the Colts in preparation for Monday night’s matchup in Indianapolis before taking the rest of the afternoon and evening off to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the holiday.
Several Steelers were interviewed after practice, including WR George Pickens, who rushed for 83 yards and four catches against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, where he also caught a TD from Kenny Pickett.
According to that Pittsburgh Post Gazette Ray Fittipaldo, Pickens, mentioned in the interview that he doesn’t find training at the NFL level very difficult compared to the training he had with his former teammates at the University of Georgia.
At first glance, that doesn’t seem like much, given that Georgia’s defense was strained last season, ending opposing SEC offenses in the run to a national championship. However, looking at the statement from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ perspective, it seems as if Pickens is saying that he feels the competition he faced on the job in college was more challenging than what he currently regularly does in the league sees drills with the Steelers.
Granted, NFL training is more about maintenance and mental preparation than physically beating each other up like they used to do when Jack Lambert and “Mean” Joe Green played. Still, this could be seen as a shadow thrown by Pickens in the context of comparing the level of competition and difficulty of the college game to the pro game.
If you examine it further, Pickens may be right. Sure, the Steelers boast Pro Bowl, All Pro players like Cam Heyward, TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick on the defensive side of the ball that any collegiate program would be difficult to match. However, looking at it from Pickens’ lens and the defenders he had to face, Georgia had S Lewis Cine and CB Derion Kendrick, both of whom are currently in the league, along with CB Kelee Ringo and S Christopher Smith who are ready to make it this transition to the pros after this season.
Given that Ringo is considered one of the best prospects for the position in this draft class, the battles Pickens has had with the first-round hopeful were perhaps more challenging than those he’s previously faced with Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace and James Pierre had Pittsburgh. Pickens probably didn’t mean this as a shot at his current teammates, but possibly as a salute to his former Dawgs who are currently in the league and those who wish to join him to play Sundays.