Mitch Trubisky has been acknowledged as the presumed starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers for months now, ever since he signed in free agency, and that hasn’t really changed even since they used their first-round draft pick on Kenny Pickett.
He has opened each of the Steelers’ first two preseason games with the ones, but has thus far only amassed five total drives’ worth of play, including three tonight, with one score to show for it (Chris Boswell did have a missed field goal tonight, but they otherwise went blank with Trubisky under center).
The sixth-year veteran seemed to lament his lack of opportunities in his post-game comments when talking about building a rapport with his playmakers and how there’s a difficulty in achieving that in a limited amount of work. He also said last week that he would have liked to have gotten more than two drives.
“I got Chase [Claypool] one early. I connected with Diontae [Johnson]. I was trying to get George [Pickens] going early on. I wanted to get Pat [Freiermuth] going as well”, he said, via the team’s YouTube channel. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers, and that’s the thing. When you try to get everybody going, trying to get everybody a touch in the game early on, and we’ve only got three drives, we’d just like to see more completions”.
Trubisky had just eight pass attempts during his three drives, completing five for 60 yards. That included a 29-yard deep completion to Claypool on a third down. They only managed two third downs, however, on his three drives, netting 54 yards of offense, Boswell’s miss coming from the 35 on the opening drive.
Last week, Trubisky led a scoring drive on the opening possession, finding a wide-open Gunner Olszewski. A promising second drive ultimately stalled, and then he was pulled. Tonight, he played only a minute into the second quarter. He’s hoping to see more time next week.
“Oh yeah, for sure”, he told reporters when he was asked if he would lobby for playing time in the Steelers’ final preseason game, though he wasn’t sure if it would happen. “We’ll see. We’ll see. I don’t know how they feel about the third game, but we’ve just got to continue to keep better rhythm on offense and do better”.
Pickett had just two possession in the game to close the first half, the first being a three and out. But the second was a five-play, 63-yard scoring drive that took all of 42 seconds, taking possession from the 37 with just 1:05 to play.
Whether or not it is a given that Trubisky will open the regular season as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, he certainly seems to be expressing a desire to get more work in with his teammates in-stadium before the regular season begins. Given the way the team is using him, however, it seems they are protecting him within reason to keep him healthy for the games that matter.