“He played situational football” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin overjoyed with Kenny Pickett’s TD throw in preseason opener

What the Pittsburgh Steelers are doing to choose the starting quarterback for the upcoming 2022 season is not a closely-kept secret. This is an open battle, according to head coach Mike Tomlin, and the Steelers began the current quarterback rotation based on each quarterback’s professional résumé.

Mitch Trubisky, an experienced quarterback signed as a free agent, entered training camp in Latrobe as the official quarterback 1, which is not surprising. He has achieved victory in the NFL, and in the 2018 and 2020 seasons, he led the Chicago Bears to the postseason. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the quarterbacks who started the QB battle in this order will wind up in the same rotation, though.

Trubisky, “Hometown Hero” Kenny Pickett, and veteran Mason Rudolph, three quarterbacks for the Pittsburgh Steelers, have all seen their fair share of highs and lows at training camp in Latrobe. Performances throughout training camp are crucial—after all, players practice how to play—but Tomlin has underlined that the Steelers’ QB1 will ultimately be chosen based on the caliber of play during preseason games.

Pittsburgh may take heart from the performances of all three candidates as the dust settles on the Steelers’ 32-25 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the first leg of their quarterback competition. 

“I think stepping into a stadium and putting these guys in a live pocket is a significant component of evaluating them individually and collectively and sorting out this battle,” Tomlin stated in his answer. “You practice in drill-like settings and it’s football-like, but it’s not football. We’re going to be prudent and smart in terms of the protection of the quarterback and keeping a clean pocket in a practice setting.”

The quarterback of the future, Kenny Pickett, delivered the biggest performance and elicited the loudest fan response. When Steelers coaches examine the clip with their delicate observation in the days to come, they will see that Mitchell Trubisky responded to the call admirably as the man at the top of the depth chart, and Mason Rudolph provided versatile play worthy of a longstanding backup.

“They moved their units,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “They did the informal things associated with the position from a leadership and communication standpoint. They were engaged. It was a good first time out for all three. Obviously, we will comb through it tomorrow and evaluate it in that way.”

Zahid Iqbal

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