Problem, Might Be Subjective
Now, when we talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterbacks, you immediately think of Ben Roethlisberger. Or you may somehow be even older and say, Terry Bradshaw. Or somehow, even older and say, Bobby Layne. But one thing for sure is that none of them are there right now. This leaves the organization in a very awkward spot that they haven’t been in for years, and that is uncertainty at the quarterback position. But uncertainty, doesn’t mean unavailability.
Who Are The Candidates?
For the first time in nearly 20 years, Ben Roethlisberger won’t be the immediate day one quarterback. The issue is, they don’t have an immediate successor. A lot of teams have used the tactic of drafting a new guy and waiting for the veteran to retire or leave, but some franchises have just said screw it and waited until the veteran has officially retired. We saw this a while ago when Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers to backup and succeed Brett Favre. But others, like the Steelers also tried to find their solution long before it happened, like the first candidate for this.
Mason Rudolph has had a very… interesting tenure with the Steelers so far. After being a standout at Oklahoma State, he got drafted to Pittsburgh with the 76th pick back in 2019. So far for them in his three seasons of play, he has been fairly mediocre at best. In 17 games started he’s thrown for 2366 yards while having a 16 to 11 touchdown; interception ratio. To be fair though, he has also only started a total of ten games for a 5-4-1 record. But his most memorable moment came against the Cleveland Browns. Of course, I’m referencing when Myles Garrett ripped off Mason’s helmet and hit him in the head with it.
Although, Mason has been in the steel city for the longest time of anyone else in that room. He, of course, had a few years, in the end, to learn from Big Ben and has been in Mike Tomlins’s system for a few years now. So when it is all said and done, Rudolph could be the lead chosen.
Kenny Pickett, aka the kid. Pickett was probably the highest touted quarterback prospect for the entirety of the draft process this year, and of course, was taken twentieth by the Steelers. Now, one of the favorite things for Pickett is that he played for Pitt University. So close, the Steelers and his college team shared a facility. But I find it unlikely we see it be Pickett to start the year. Many top-tier quarterbacks backed up either a veteran or a bridge quarterback to start their career, Herbert, Jackson, even Patrick Mahomes did at the start. Rookies nowadays have struggled to adjust to the game immediately so it would make sense to not go with Pickett.
A lot of people (including myself) strongly believed that Trubisky was not very good. There’s a good chance that if you aren’t a Bears fan you thought the same. But after Justin Fields’ struggles greatly dealing with Matt Nagy’s awful coaching, people began to realize it may not have been all his fault. Funnily enough, this earned him a second chance with the Steelers. Now, with another incredibly strong defense like the one he had with Chicago in 2018, if he gets the start the Steelers could be incredibly solid. But, I also believe there is a chance that Trubisky either doesn’t finish the season as the starter, or this is his only season as the starter.
Trubisky appears to be a fairly traditional bridge quarterback unfortunately. While he has starting quarterback skill, he just got screwed over too early in his career to ever be long term solution.
So Who Will It Be?
Well, that’s a good question. Of course, OTA’s and practices have still only started so there is a lot of time for the Steelers to figure it out, and get them ready to go. But I’ll kind of rank them based on how likely it is they start week one
Last is Mason Rudolph. The reindeer had his chance and kind of blew it. He had a very high ceiling coming out of college, but it just didn’t work. He never reached the hype he should have.
The second is probably Kenny Pickett. The current trend is letting your rookie sit for a year behind a bridge quarterback and that is exactly what I think Tomlin will do. Pickett is great, except he needs to adjust. No reason for him to get kicked around this early if it’s avoidable
The best bet is Mitch Trubisky. I don’t see a way they would have paid the man the contract they did if it wasn’t at least to be a temporary starter. He is also good enough to take you to the playoffs, and I think that is the most you are get out of this Steelers team this year.