While Mike Tomlin is adamant he isn’t thinking about making a quarterback change, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero is singing a slightly different tune. Appearing on NFLN prior to tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, Pelissero explained Trubisky’s standing as the team’s starter.
“Mike Tomlin has given no indication publicly or privately that he is considering a quarterback change at this very early stage of the season,” Pelissero said. “My understanding is at this point, it’s a week-to-week evaluation. And the Steelers quarterback plans are going to be dictated by how Trubisky plays beginning tonight.”
If Trubisky plays well, he’ll remain the starter. If not, he won’t. Not exactly the most high-brow analysis you’ll ever hear, but the mindset of the team is important to note. Tomlin has publicly stood by Trubisky as this team’s starter the entire offseason, trying to frame things as a competition but telling his team back in the spring Trubisky was entering the year as the starter. But after a poor performance against the New England Patriots last Sunday, there’s already plenty of calls – from fans, pundits, and ex-Steelers – to play rookie Kenny Pickett.
Fellow NFL Network personality Brian Baldinger believes it’s possible Pickett makes his debut tonight.
“Maybe they need that guy to spark the passing game because that’s a strength of the team is their receivers. And they gotta get the ball down the field more regularly to them. If they’re struggling in the first half, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them go to Pickett in the second half tonight.”
Through two games, the Steelers have just two offensive touchdowns and have scored 30 points, the other touchdown coming via Minkah Fitzpatrick’s pick-six in the Week 1 opener. Despite holding the Patriots to 17 points last week, the Steelers lost the game, running only seven fourth-quarter plays, twice going three-and-out.
Pelissero and Baldinger stressed the team and organization love Trubisky as a person, voting him team captain, but that only gets an offense so far. Pelissero explained there’s frustration among the receiver room.
“Those receivers want him to push the ball down the field and get it into his playmakers’ hands.”
Diontae Johnson is averaging under nine yards per catch, Chase Claypool under six yards per catch, and George Pickens has two receptions in two games. That has to change, and it’ll need to start tonight. Trubisky also has to read underneath progressions better and take fewer sacks. While Trubisky still seems in line to be the Steelers’ starter for a while longer, that conversation could shift if he struggles tonight and Pittsburgh drops to 1-2 on the year.