Just two days out from the preseason finale for the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium against the Detroit Lions, the quarterback situation for the black and gold is still very much up in the air — in a positive way — according to second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Throughout much of the offseason in OTAs, minicamp and training camp, the Steelers consistently talked internally and eternally about the job under center being a three-way competition. It never quite seemed that way, considering the bulk of the first-team reps consistently went to veteran free agent signee Mitch Trubisky, while veteran Mason Rudolph and first-round pick Kenny Pickett were left to battle it out for the second-team reps.
Trubisky always felt like the starter and was treated as such, but to hear Canada talk about the quarterback job, it’s still very much an open competition entering the preseason finale, which lines up with what head coach Mike Tomlin stated earlier in the week about the job being one that will be determined in the finale.
Speaking with 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn, Canada stated that, to date, it’s still a quarterback competition for the Steelers, and that it involves all three players in Trubisky, Rudolph and Pickett. The Steelers, for what it’s worth, are very pleased with how the battle has played out with all three quarterbacks playing well in their limited action, making it a difficult decision for the Steelers — at least that’s what they’re saying.
“It’s probably right where we hoped it would be,” Canada said to Hathhorn Thursday, according to audacy.com. “You’ve guys have watched it all, you’ve been here. I think we have had three quarterbacks that have all, for the most part, played well.”
All three quarterbacks have played well, though Pickett has stolen the show with some great play in the first two preseason games, leading a game-winning drive in the final seconds against the Seattle Seahawks, and then leading a masterful two-minute drive against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
That said, Rudolph has looked really good as well, including the go-ahead scoring drive with a little over a minute left against the Jaguars, and threw a picture-perfect touchdown pass to George Pickens against the Seahawks. Trubisky hasn’t gone quietly either, leading a scoring drive on his first chance with the Steelers against the Seahawks and looked solid against Jacksonville despite being under consistent pressure behind a pourous offensive line.
“It’s not a situation where someone has played well and the other guys have played so bad, so he’s won the job by default,” Canada added, according to 93.7 The Fan. “All three guys have played well, they’ve all had moments of really good and some moments you’d like to have back, like everybody does. That’s where you want it to be.”
The Steelers certainly are enjoying where the three-way quarterback competition is at this point in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. There were some worries, especially outside noise, about the three players attempting to replace the Hall of Fame quarterback right away. To their credit, they’ve played very well and have been pleasant surprises overall.
Even if it still feels like Trubisky is the Week 1 starter on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals to open the 2022 season on Sept. 11, the Steelers are certainly treating Sunday’s preseason finale like the job is still on the line.
It’s unclear how the quarterback rotation will go against the Lions, but all eyes will be on the three under center inside Acrisure Stadium.
“You want all three to be playing, in coach’s terms, at a varsity level,” Canada added, according to 93.7 The Fan. “Whoever we decide is the best one is the guy. I think we’ve had that to this point, but we still have another dress rehearsal to see how that finishes.”