PFF Hedges On Belief That Mitch Trubisky Could Improve In Pittsburgh Compared To Time In Chicago

After one season in Buffalo with the Bills seemingly rebuilding himself as a quarterback, the big question looming over new Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky is if he can improve on the field in extended action, compared to his time in Chicago with the Bears.

As the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky has all the tools necessary of a franchise-level quarterback in today’s NFL. The big arm, mobility and overall accuracy are there, but for some reason during his time in Chicago, he could never quite put it together in an RPO-heavy scheme that seemingly propped him up each season.

According to Pro Football Focus, during his four years in Chicago, Trubisky never earned a PFF offensive grade below 62.0 or above 68.4 overall.

Now, after a reboot in Buffalo, Trubisky aims to reach his lofty ceiling in Pittsburgh in a system tailored to his strengths while featuring the best set of weapons he’s had in his career to date.

Can he reach that ceiling though? Pro Football Focus’s Sam Monson seems to hedge on that question a bit in a recent article for PFF, stating that in today’s NFL we’re seeing more and more quarterbacks make significant leaps due to drastic changes in mechanics and play-style.

“The bottom line is that Trubisky had a rare opportunity for a former quarterback bust — a year on the sideline to reboot as a quarterback in a new environment. Now, he needs to show he is also capable of making some fundamental changes to his game in a new NFL system,” Monson writes. “How likely is that to happen? Given the consistency of his NFL performances over the years, not very likely, but there has never been a time in league history where quarterbacks have undergone such drastic changes to their game as in recent years. Trubisky has the physical tools to work with and has been exposed to a player that just made an even more drastic leap in Allen. 

“Can Trubisky play far better in Pittsburgh than he ever did in Chicago? It’s certainly possible, but perhaps more likely is that we see a small uptick that isn’t enough to hold off rookie Kenny Pickett for more than half the season.”

That’s quite the hedge from Monson, isn’t it?

Trubisky has had a lot of success early in his career, especially his first few seasons in Chicago. He’s won 29 career games and led the Bears to the playoffs twice under Matt Nagy.

As Monson pointed out in his piece though, Trubisky found himself stuck in a rut in the RPO-heavy scheme, rarely improving overall, which led to his downfall in the Windy City.

Getting a chance to rebuild himself under the same watchful eyes that helped Buffalo’s Josh Allen ascend into stardom has some believing Trubisky could be the next guy to resurrect his career and tap into the potential he once had as the No. 2 pick coming out of North Carolina.

As Monson points out though, that’s a bit unlikely to happen, not only due to Trubisky’s experience and overall history, but also the fact that the Steelers have 2022 first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett nipping at his heels. Trubisky should be better than he was in Chicago, but likely only incrementally. That’s unlikely to hold off Pickett long this season, as the former Pitt star is the intended future franchise quarterback in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers will want to see what Pickett has, considering they’ve invested heavily in him. That doesn’t bode well for Trubisky long-term.

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