Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is trending in the direction of playing on Sunday after suffering a concussion during the team’s previous game. In the middle of the third quarter, he took a hit from a pressure by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White that sent him spilling to the ground, hitting his head.
Fortunately for him, his backup, Mitch Trubisky, was able to finish, and finish off, the game for him this past week, which earned him his first victory. Trubisky began the season as the starter before being benched at halftime in week four, but he played some of the most inspired football of his career in the final 20 minutes.
“He played well. I feel like he came in like I said before like he had something to prove, and I felt like he was playing real well”, wide receiver Diontae Johnson told reporters yesterday via the team’s website. “Came in, took over where Kenny left off at and he was able to get the win for us”.
It’s the same thing that he said after the game about playing as if he had something to prove after he was benched. Johnson also acknowledged that the two of them did have some words at halftime of that game, though that’s long been made water under the bridge. The bottom line, he says, is that anybody under center is treated the same.
“Whoever’s in at quarterback, we’re gonna have the same respect for him”, he said, and that includes supporting him with your performance. “We were out there, nothing changed, we were making plays for him down the field. Third down, Chase was making big plays for us down the field. He looked great. Everybody in the huddle still had the same respect for him as when he was the starter”.
Those who root for chaos were quick to raise the question of whether or not Trubisky’s performance in the second half on Sunday would spark a quarterback controversy, but head coach Mike Tomlin, perhaps internally gleefully, quickly squashed that on Tuesday, stating in no uncertain terms that Pickett was his starter whenever healthy and that they would “blow in the wind”, one of his favorite phrases of late.
But I do believe that the locker room supported Trubisky while he was in the starting lineup and continues to support him now. His strong play to finish out the last game certainly didn’t hurt his perception among his teammates in the locker room.