When the Pittsburgh Steelers inked veteran free agent quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year deal on the first day of free agency in March, hopes were high that the former No. 2 overall pick that was an ideal fit in second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offensive scheme would be able to tap into his pedigree and skill set and help make for a smooth transition out of the Ben Roethlisberger era.
Three and a half games into his tenure as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, it was over, as the Steelers benched Trubisky at the half against the New York Jets in Week 4 at Acrisure Stadium, turning to rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett to try and help spark a stagnant offense. Ahead of the Week 5 matchup on the road against the Buffalo Bills, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin made it official, naming Pickett the Steelers’ starting quarterback moving forward, placing Trubisky on the bench after just 14 quarters of play.
All that hype, all that promise and short-sighted belief…gone! A tough hand dealt to a player named a team captain ahead of his first season in the black and gold, too.
That all played a factor in NFL.com’s Marc Ross naming the Steelers’ signing of Trubisky one of the eight worst offseason moves across the league Wednesday.
“The Steelers have trumpeted Trubisky’s leadership skills and praised him for being a great teammate, but I don’t think those attributes were ever the question. He didn’t perform in Chicago, and he didn’t perform in Pittsburgh, which led to his benching in Week 4,” Ross writes regarding Trubisky’s time in Pittsburgh. “Trubisky is who we thought he was: a quarterback who makes half-field reads with poor vision and feel in the pocket, presents no threat of stretching the field but shows the occasional ability to escape pressure with his legs.”
With Trubisky at the helm in Pittsburgh, the Steelers scored just four offensive touchdowns in more than 40 offensive drives. Once Pickett was inserted into the lineup the Steelers scored two offensive touchdowns in five drives against the Jets. Granted, one was a four-yard drive after a Minkah Fitzpatrick interception, but that stat sums up how stagnant the Steelers’ offense was with Trubisky under center.
The issues offensively weren’t all on Trubisky, to be fair. But he wasn’t seeing the field well, taking some awful sacks in situations he couldn’t, and really wasn’t adding anything to the Steelers’ offense under Canada.
It seemed like a good fit on paper when the Steelers signed him to be he bridge quarterback from the Roethlisberger era into the Pickett one, but once the actual games were played, the fit just wasn’t good enough, and Trubisky’s play wasn’t elevating the offense overall. It led to a quick benching, and now, his time in the Steel City appears over for good, making him one of the eight worst offseason moves in the league in the eyes of Ross.