The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Would the Steelers have a better record if Mitch Trubisky were never benched?
A couple of teams this week made the decision to bench their starting quarterbacks. The Steelers, of course, already made that decision back in week four. But some—or at least one person—recently suggested that they should do it again, reversing course.
Veteran Mitch Trubisky was signed in the offseason to start this year, but they also used their first-round pick to take Kenny Pickett. Trubisky started the first four games but was benched at halftime, and Pickett has been the starter since then, through the ups and downs.
The premise behind the notion of going back to Trubisky is obviously that the Steelers would have won more than three games this year if that were the case. The Steelers are 2-4 with Pickett as the starter of record, and one of those games Trubisky had to finish off (though Pickett held a lead when he exited with a concussion).
Okay, so the question is already established: would the Steelers be better than 3-7 right now if they never yanked Trubisky? As a hypothetical question, there’s obviously no right answer, but that’s not what this is about.
Trubisky has more experience than Pickett, obviously. He’s even had more success in the league, been to the playoffs a couple of times. But from a pure performance level, I don’t think anybody was rending their garments over him being benched. The offense was dead in the water.
They’ve still mostly been a floating corpse since then, but they at least get further down the river before someone pokes an airhole in them and they sink. How’s that for Black Friday imagery?
Remember, this is not a question about what the Steelers should have done, or what they should do, but rather quite simply, what their record would be right now if Trubisky were never benched. And moreover, what would their record be at the end of the year with Trubisky starting every game versus how you expect them to finish now with Pickett? Basically, how many net losses, if any, will the Steelers accrue in 2022 due to their decision to ride with Pickett?