The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterbacks as a group completed 26 of 37 pass attempts on Saturday night against the Seattle Seahawks, throwing for 251 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions and a collective 124.9 quarterback rating.
They did take three sacks and put the ball on the ground once via a fumble, but overall, each of the three quarterbacks employed exhibited certain highs that justifiably amplified the level of enthusiasm, low as it was, about the state of the position moving ahead into the 2022 season.
It’s no easy task following a Hall of Famer as the Steelers are aiming to do with Ben Roethlisberger now gone, but between Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and rookie Kenny Pickett, they believe they’ve assembled a competent group of professionals that leaves the position in good hands.
The events of Saturday night made it easier to feel that optimism, and perhaps greater uncertainty as to the answer of the question of who should be the starter. Asked if that was a good problem to have, wide receiver Gunner Olszewski told reporters after the game, via the team’s website, “Heck yeah, man. But that’s a question for the coaches. Coaches coach and players play”.
Like the majority of the quarterback room, Olszewski is in his first season in Pittsburgh. With Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool not playing in the preseason opener—perhaps even if they did—the fourth-year veteran got the opportunity to see plenty of snaps with the starters.
He led all Steelers receivers for the game with three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, that a 25-yard pass on the opening drive from Trubisky. The return specialist got wide open on the play; all Trubisky had to do was not air-mail it.
The presumed starter described Olszewski as “quarterback-friendly” in his post-game remarks, complimenting his ability to create yards after the catch and noting his shiftiness and ability to create separation and get open.
Interestingly enough, in spite of the fact that he was ostensibly signed primarily to be a return man, he did not work in the return game at all. That should not be taken as an indication of his being in danger there, but rather simply the team wanting to see what anybody else could offer.
The Steelers are showing to be deep at wide receiver, with Johnson, Claypool, and George Pickens a potentially impressive starting three, but Olszewski could well find time as a slot option. He certainly will if Trubisky has any say in the matter.
Even though he was little used offensively while in New England—he only picked up the position once he got to the NFL—Olszewski has a true wide receiver’s skillset and could potentially be a benefit to anybody under center. From his perspective, any option they have would be a good one. He’s just glad he doesn’t have to decide which one they go with.