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Diontae Johnson On Trubisky: ‘We’re Cool Friends Right Now’

In a recent video interview posted on Steelers.com, Teresa Varley spoke with WR Diontae Johnson on Tuesday during OTAs regarding all the quarterbacks currently on the roster and what it is like working with the new additions to the roster in UFA Mitch Trubisky as well as rookies Kenny Pickett and Chris Oladokun.

Given the fact that Johnson already has an established rapport with Mason Rudolph after playing together on several occasions the last few seasons, including having extensive time together back in Johnson’s rookie season in 2019, the question lingers how Johnson is adjusting to the new faces in the QB room for the Steelers as the #1 WR on the team currently.

“It’s different,” Johnson responded when asked about the new additions to the QB room. “Other than Mason [Rudolph], it’s Chris [Oladokun], Kenny [Pickett] and Mitch [Trubisky]. Getting to know those three and just seeing what they do different, what they like to do, and really just picking their brains.”

However, after addressing the three new additions to the roster at the QB position, Johnson specially dives in on Mitch Trubisky and his interest on getting on the same page with the former #2 overall pick that is trying to win the starting job this offseason.

“I’m really picking Mitch’s brain and trying to build that relationship with him,” Johnson continued. “And that’s what is the most exciting to me is just taking it a day at a time with Mitch.”

It makes sense for Johnson to be interested in “picking Mitch’s brain” and developing some chemistry with the recent free agent signing. After all, Trubisky was brought in to compete as the starting QB for Pittsburgh in 2022, likely pushing both Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett during training camp and the preseason coming later in July to recapture a starting gig in the NFL as he attempts to get his career back on track after taking a gap year as a backup in Buffalo in 2021 behind Josh Allen.

Given the fact that Trubisky is the current presumptive favorite to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback on opening day and is taking first team snaps during OTAs, it is obvious that Johnson would want to tie himself to Trubisky in some fashion as the two are working heavily together in the first-team offense. Not only does this help the offense with the development of much-needed chemistry to move the ball effectively during the regular season, but it could benefit Johnson specifically as he enters a contract year and may need to put together a strong season in 2022 to break the bank should Pittsburgh opt not to re-sign him before the regular season.

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“We’re cool friends right now,” Johnson continues when asked by Varley on his rapport with Trubisky. “He’s a great dude. He came up to me and dapped me up when he first seen me and I’m like ‘Woah, that was unexpected.’ So, just being able to get that from him and just show my appreciation to him is good as well.”

It’s good that Diontae Johnson is looking to establish a connection with all the new faces in the QB room, recognizing that they all have a different way of doing things and a different way that they spin the football, he must adjust to now that longtime starting QB Ben Roethlisberger has retired. It’s also encouraging to see Johnson going out of his way to get on the same page with Mitch Trubisky as the two could be the focal point of the passing game for Pittsburgh this upcoming season.

A quarterback and a wide receiver must have a great connection with one another to be successful at the NFL level. Much was made about the Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase connection as the two were teammates at LSU and tore up the NFL in their first season together in the league. The same could be said for the mind meld between Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp after all their famous breakfast dates prior to the start of the season which led to a prolific pairing and Kupp dominating the league at the WR position and a Super Bowl trophy for the Los Angeles Rams.

Whether Trubisky wins the starting job in training camp or if that distinction goes to Rudolph or Pickett, it is imperative that your #1 WR is on the same page with your starting QB from the jump. Johnson is attempting to do that this offseason, both out of benefit for the team to be the best offense they possibly can be in 2022 as well as his own potential benefit with a lot on the line from a financial security perspective this season.

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