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Pittsburgh Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett to get more 'varsity action' in second preseason game

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Who can the Steelers rely on without Roethlisberger? (0:55)

Jeff Darlington explains how it is too early to predict who among Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph will be the go-to QB for the Steelers. (0:55)

LATROBE, Pa -- The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't waiting until the second half of the second preseason game to see Kenny Pickett in live action again.

Instead, coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday, the first-round draft pick will come into the game second, following starter Mitch Trubisky. Mason Rudolph will finish the game.

"We just simply want to see Kenny in more varsity action," Tomlin said. "We know more about Mason. Mitch has been around the professional game, obviously.

"And so this is a big week for [Pickett] in terms of maybe getting in in the first half of this game. And, I would imagine, getting the opportunity to see front-line defenders for Jacksonville."

Trubisky played two series against Seattle, and he said Thursday he would like to play more against Jacksonville. He completed 4 of 7 attempts for 63 yards with a touchdown. Rudolph followed him and completed 9 of 15 attempts for 93 yards and also had a touchdown throw.

Pickett started the second half of the Steelers' win against Seattle and threw two touchdown passes, including the game winner. He completed 13 of 15 passes for 95 yards and had three rushes for 16 yards.

Pickett worked with the second team almost exclusively in the final week of training camp in preparation for the increased role in the second preseason game, and he also led the first-team offense in a two-minute drill. His unit didn't score, but he got them inside the 10-yard line.

"You see him going through his reads better," running back Najee Harris said. "He's taking more control. He's feeling more confident, and that's really what he needs. He has talent, he just needs the confidence and the team to back him up, and the guys to do it. We're that for him.

"Him during rookie minicamp, OTAs, and to now, he's made a drastic jump."

Rudolph, meanwhile, will shift to taking third-team reps. He's also worked with the third team throughout the week. Prior to the first preseason game, Rudolph and Trubisky split some first-team reps, but Trubisky still has taken the bulk of them.

"Obviously I would've liked to have had some more first-team reps," Rudolph said. "I think you guys have seen how our practices have gone. I've made the most of the reps I have gotten, I thought I've performed well this camp and want to continue to do so individually as well as collectively as an offense on Saturday."

Rudolph also acknowledged that he's heard the recent trade rumors swirling around him, but the quarterback said he's trying to ignore them.

"Those are all scenarios that I have no control over," he said. "That's not what my focus is on right now. My focus is on going down and putting the finishing touches on this week today with practice and then tomorrow's walk-through and then getting to Jacksonville."