Steelers News

Mike Tomlin Appreciates Attentiveness And Professionalism In QB Race, Jokes ‘Ask Me Again Tomorrow’ Who Starter Is

The Pittsburgh Steelers got on the field of Saint Vincent College today for the first time since…well, since 2019. It’s been a long time coming, needless to say. But the bigger story is not how long they’ve been away, but who is and isn’t on the field. The isn’t is Ben Roethlisberger. The is is Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett.

As if you didn’t already know, the team has a couple of new quarterbacks, as well as an old one in Mason Rudolph, and head coach Mike Tomlin is taking this time to figure out what is best for the team in putting together a depth chart at that position. But not much can be said on day one, as he told eager reporters after today’s practice, who literally asked him, albeit tongue in cheek, if he was ready to name a starter.

I’m not”, he said. “I’m not. But ask me tomorrow”, he shot back with his trademark grin. Still, he had a bit more to offer on what he did see, even if there was little of it. “I saw good work and attentiveness and good communication”, from his quarterbacks, he said.

As was expected, Trubisky saw the bulk of the first-team snaps, but they did mix up the rotations more than they did during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, with Pickett and Rudolph coming in to get work with different units as well. Chris Oladokun, however, did not see time in team drills. Not that anything should be read into one day of practice.

“We’re crawling”, Tomlin said, referring to the infancy stages of the process of determining the quarterback pecking order. “I can tell you guys some things, but it’s the early portion of the process. I appreciate their attentiveness and professionalism, and they’ll continue to write their stories and sort themselves out”.

We’ve already dissected this to death over the course of the past few months, so there’s really no need for me to give you the one-sentence biographies of everybody involved. We’re all just waiting to start seeing this process sort itself out at this point.

We should, however, expect to see some more variation in the timing and usage of each quarterback as we move forward. Tomlin has always—or usually, anyway—been good about getting different guys work during training camp to get a good look at what they can do, so we should see high-quality reps from Pickett and Rudolph with the first-team offense as we move along.

The preseason, especially with one fewer game than there used to be, could be trickier, since there are only so many snaps to go around. How do you manage it? Do you let each of the three contenders start a game? Playing with different levels of personnel, both on your own offense and on the opposing defense, it’s not a one-for-one comparative evaluation. But you do what you can with what you have. And what the Steelers have is no clear, obvious answer at quarterback right now.

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