All signals throughout the offseason have been that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going with Mitch Trubisky as their starting quarterback. He is opening the season now as their captain and starter, so that all checks out. Yet there remains a perception that he’s just warming the seat for rookie Kenny Pickett, and that at some point during the year, he will give way to the first-round pick.
Apparently, head coach Mike Tomlin told Jay Glazer earlier today on FOX NFL Sunday that the plan is for Pickett to sit for the entirety of his rookie season and learn, that there will be no succession during the year, and that this is Trubisky’s team for the 2022 season:
There are a lot of teams with new quarterbacks, and one of those teams is the Pittsburgh Steelers. And what are they doing in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era? Well, listen. According to people inside that building—and those people are Mike Tomlin—this has always been Mitch Trubisky’s team. I know a lot of fans said Kenny Pickett, as he started playing well in the preseason, maybe the rookie has a chance. That’s not been the plan in Pittsburgh. I talked to Mike about it again this morning. He said, ‘Look, this is Trubisky’s team’. His plan is to sit Kenny Picket all season long and just let him sit and learn in his rookie season.
Pickett did indeed have an impressive preseason, albeit largely as the second-string quarterback, as Tomlin had Trubisky start each of the three games. The rookie saw his most extensive playing time in game one, playing all of the second half, but followed as the number two in the following two weeks.
He completed 29 out of 36 pass attempts during the preseason for 271 yards with three touchdown passes and zero interceptions, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt.
Trubisky went 24-for-34 during his preseason play, most of which came during the first half of the finale, for 283 yards and two touchdowns. None of the Steelers’ quarterbacks threw a single interception throughout the preseason.
Perhaps the key difference between the two performances was that Trubisky had more success pushing the ball down the field—also attempting to push the ball down the field more—and connecting on more big-time throws that contained a high degree of difficulty.
Nevertheless, many pundits came away from the preseason believing that Pickett was ready to be an NFL starter now and that Tomlin should be playing him. If he has his way, we won’t see the rookie taking any snaps this year except in mop-up duty. As long as the Steelers are winning, though, I can’t say I mind.