Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made his firm stance on who plays at quarterback known as the Steelers open the season with a 1-2 record.
Everyone watching the Steelers knew that 2022 would mark the beginning of a transitionary period as the team sought its future franchise quarterback.
But how difficult this period has been, with the Steelers managing to win one game of three, isn’t how any fan would like to see the season unravel so early on.
On their part, the Steelers anticipated their potential quarterback issues by bringing in several. At the beginning of the offseason, the Steelers rostered Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and the late Dwayne Haskins. During the NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett. Currently, the Steelers are a rarity in the league with three possible quarterbacks, and Steelers fans are anxious to see what Pitt star Kenny Pickett can accomplish in the NFL.
Not so fast, according to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
When asked if he would consider a quarterback or play-caller change after a humiliating loss to the Cleveland Browns, Tomlin firmly dismissed the notion that any reactionary changes would be made.
Mike Tomlin throws cold water on replacing Mitch Trubisky with Kenny Pickett
Pain is to be expected when any high-caliber quarterback retires — think Denver Broncos after Peyton Manning — but the way in which 2022 has panned out has been excruciating for Pittsburgh.
They won by an overtime field goal over the Cincinnati Bengals, a win that has become more meaningful in their recent AFC North loss. Then, the Steelers lost to another longtime AFC rival, the New England Patriots. Trubisky threw for one touchdown in that game in the fourth quarter, and the Steelers only managed to score two field goals in the first three quarters of the game.
Then there’s the Week 3 loss to the Browns, where Trubisky hardly surpassed 200 passing yards and failed to score a touchdown. That may have been passable had the Steelers been able to compensate with their run game, but they were not. Trubisky and Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett had nearly identical passing stats in completions, attempts and yards, save for the fact that Brissett scored two touchdowns.
But Cleveland saw 38 carries and 171 yards to the 22 carries and 104 yards that Pittsburgh recorded. As Tomlin said, “Nick Chubb controlled the game.”
“I thought they controlled the line of scrimmage, particularly in the second half. If you can’t slow down Chubb, you can’t beat this group. We kind of knew that and we didn’t get it done. We have to own the outcome and we will, so there’s not really a lot to talk about. We’ll look at this tape and learn, get better, and get better very fast.”
Tomlin’s made it abundantly clear that for now, Trubisky will be studying his tape rather than having the team trot out its rookie quarterback.
While Trubisky offers a veteran presence in the pocket, it’s hard not to imagine what Pickett could accomplish given the opportunity. Perhaps more than two touchdowns and one interception through three games? With games like this, the Steelers can expect to land a little higher than No. 20 in the 2023 NFL Draft.