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Mitch Trubisky is officially the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback. The team’s depth chart says so and now coach Mike Tomlin, who was in no hurry to make this announcement, has said so.
“We got complete clarity there,” Tomlin told reporters Tuesday morning.
There was a distinct lack of clarity on Monday when a depth chart released by the team had Mitch Trubisky as the starter and Mason Rudolph as the backup, with rookie Kenny Pickett as the No. 3.
Nope, not the case.
Tomlin said there was a clerical error, and the correction is Pickett is the backup and will take whatever few practice repetitions backup QBs get every week with starters.
Mike Tomlin Likes All Three Steeler Quarterbacks
Tomlin seems to really love his three quarterbacks and said it is “good to come to decisions based on what people are doing as opposed to what people are not doing” because all three players had good training camps and played well in the preseason.
But ultimately, and at least for now, it’s Mitch Trubisky’s job.
Man, we’re just really comfortable with what Mitch has shown us,” Tomlin said. “He’s a guy that came to us with franchise quarterback experience, if you will. He’s comfortable in those shoes. He’s been the focal point of a football team in an organization before.
“He’s had success in doing so. Like I mentioned when we acquired him, he took the Bears to the playoffs in two out of four years. He has a winning record as a starting quarterback. Those things were attractive to us.”
“His athleticism and mobility were attractive to us. He took care of the football in stadium.”
Tomlin said deciding on the depth chart at quarterback was “challenging” but also “fun as well.”
Tomlin has made it clear Trubisky is the man for the Steelers to all the players. The Steelers are Trubisky’s team.
“He’s a guy people are going to rally around,” defensive lineman Cam Heyward said. “He understands and coach T says he carries our hopes and dreams.”
This all feels like the right call by Tomlin and the Steelers. But it also feels like the right call now because everyone understands if Trubisky reverts to mean — which is to say he plays to his modest 87.0 career quarterback rating in a division with dynamic quarterbacks such as Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and eventually Deshaun Watson — then Tomlin might have to reconsider his decision.
Mike Tomlin Likes Kenny Pickett’s future
If that happens, Pickett feels like a great backup to have developing while Trubisky plays.
“Really pleased with the growth and development of Kenny, that’s why he’s No. 2,” Tomlin said. “I thought his acceleration of development really took off once we stepped into stadiums.”
Translation: Pickett showed himself to be a gamer.
“His decision-making, the fluidity of it, his competitive spirit, his pinpoint accuracy, all of those things, I thought really came to the forefront once we started coming into stadiums,” Tomlin said. “And I thought he grew, and grew at a really fast pace once we got into stadiums.”
And here’s the thing that should light up Steelers fans looking past Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Bengals to a perhaps not-distant future:
“I also think it’s reasonable to expect that growth and development to continue as we push into the regular season,” Tomlin said of Pickett. “We’re excited about where he is and the ground he’s covered to this point and the ground he’s going to continue to cover.”
“Just really excited about where he is and what he’s capable of.”
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero