CBS Sports Highlights Mitch Trubisky’s Perceived Stranglehold On QB Job As Steelers Top Camp Story

Three days into training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, much of the attention, hopes and dreams of the Steelers’ chances in 2022 continues to seemingly ride on every throw that Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett make in the three-way quarterback competition.

While the Steelers’ coaches and players have downplayed the significance of the battle and the success or failures rep to rep by the three, it’s still certainly worth following closely throughout camp and the upcoming preseason.

So far, reps and pecking order remain the same with Trubisky, the prized veteran free agent signing, holding down the top spot with the first-team offense. Rudolph, the incumbent fifth-year Steeler, continues to impress through three days while mostly playing with the second team, while Pickett continues to hold down third-team reps and has had an up and down start to his first-ever camp.

Though the pecking order has remained the same since OTAs and minicamp, it’s a much closer competition than many expected coming into training camp. Prior to the Steelers reporting to Latrobe earlier in the week, the common belief locally and nationally was that Trubisky would be the starting quarterback in Week 1 on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, and that Rudolph and Pickett really didn’t have much of a chance of convincing the coaching staff otherwise.

Three days in though, Trubisky’s foothold on the top spot isn’t as strong as it seemingly once was based on the play at camp. Still, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin raised a question Thursday regarding the Steelers’ quarterback competition, asking if Trubisky was going to coast to the Steelers’ starting job, highlighting the competition as the top camp story so far for the black and gold.

“Every indication out of Pittsburgh thus far has been that Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears castoff who’s started all of nine games the last two years, is basically a lock to open 2022 under center as Ben Roethlisberger’s successor. Which is fine, considering he’s been a full-timer before, as opposed to rookie Kenny Pickett,” Benjamin writes for CBS Sports. “And certainly the setup for Trubisky is better than what he often had in Chicago; leaning on Najee Harris, an improved line and feisty defense might actually allow the QB to play spoiler. But the Steelers still made Pickett the 20th player picked in the entire 2022 draft class — the first Day 1 QB they’ve selected since Big Ben himself.

“Is he really that incapable of stealing the job early? Or has Trubisky been that composed?”

To his credit, Benjamin is a very good writer overall, one that is a very smart football mind. He’s just not reading this competition correctly — at all.

Through three days of training camp, that has not been the indication overall regarding Trubisky and the starting job, especially with Rudolph off to a relatively strong start in camp. Surprisingly, Benjamin doesn’t mention Rudolph at all, who is much more of a threat for the starting job compared to Pickett, who has yet to garner even a single first-team rep in camp.

It’s still early, to be fair, but Trubisky doesn’t have a stranglehold on the starting job. It’s truly an open competition, at least between Trubisky and Rudolph, just like head coach Mike Tomlin and then-GM Kevin Colbert indicated it would be all offseason. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Pickett’s standing in the competition right now has nothing to do with him being “incapable” or anything like that in which Benjamin may be attempting to suggest. The Steelers are very clearly bringing him along slowly, allowing him to get his feet underneath him and taking the pressure off of him overall, considering he’s the big shiny new piece in the Steel City.

Trubisky hasn’t quite done anything wrong to lose that perceived foothold on the job, it was just never quite that cut and dry and many believed by reading too far into OTA and minicamp reps overall. We’ll see how things continue to play out in Latrobe at the quarterback position. Make no mistake about it though: it’s a true competition, one that the best performer will win fair and square.

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