As the Pittsburgh Steelers had yet another offensively inefficient game, questions about the team’s starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky continue to emerge. That is, many are pondering why head coach Mike Tomlin does not bench Trubisky in favor of the team’s first-round pick quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Recently retired corner and five-year Steeler Joe Haden weighed in on Tomlin’s coaching style and potential adjustments, including under center, on The Rich Eisen Show Friday.
“I think Coach Tomlin is going to do a great job studying the tape,” Haden said when asked about the Steelers’ outing against Cleveland. “Showing that it’s a couple little things and changes we could’ve made yesterday. The Steelers could have easily won that game yesterday. He’s not a quick reactor, he’s going to watch the tape, go figure out what’s going on he’s going and coach up some dudes. Like I said, just win third down a little bit more, and stop Nick Chubb from running the ball.”
The Steelers’ offense was one-for-nine in third down conversions, and struggled to contain Browns’ running back Nick Chubb in key situations. It is far from unreasonable to point to those two aspects as the primary causes for the Steelers’ loss and as points of improvement. As Haden stated, the game against Cleveland was well in reach for the Steelers, and a few more third down conversions and Chubb stops may have just altered the outcome.
“Coach Tomlin is very self-aware,” Haden continued. “I think he knows the heartbeat of this team. He’s able to talk to us in a very transparent way if you didn’t perform. He’ll go in there, he’ll be on Trubisky, on the line, and on everybody, so you know where you stand and know that you need to get your stuff going.”
Coach Tomlin made a name for himself as a no-nonsense and transparent coach to his players and the media. This is most prevalent when the team is struggling, as Tomlin is well known to hold accountability where it is due.
This type of accountability may be the best way to handle Thursdays loss and prepare for Week 4. Benching your starting quarterback is a big decision, and it may be for the best that Tomlin is not in a rush to make it despite outside pressure. The fact is, Trubisky is in his first season with the team, and a learning curve is to be expected. While starting Pickett can have its upsides and potentially turn out to be the right move, the contrary is just as likely if not more so. Moreover, a quarterback change may not be the fundamental problem that the team needs to fix, as Trubisky is struggling much like Ben Roethlisberger did in 2021.
The team’s coming opponents include the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. All four of those matchups will be testing for Pittsburgh, and a veteran and experienced quarterback arguably gives them the best chance. As the team prepares for a long rest before their Week 4 outing against the New York Jets, focusing on team-oriented issues such as third down conversions and run defense may be for the best. It does not appear that Tomlin is in a rush to make any changes at the quarterback position, and that is fine for now.