The Pittsburgh Steelers could potentially start any one of three quarterbacks on Sunday. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to tell if there is a favorite. Obviously, starter Kenny Pickett would be the one to go if he is cleared of the concussion protocol and has been able to get a sufficient level of work in during the week*.
But they have two alternatives with starting experience already sitting on the roster in the event that he can’t go, including the man who opened the season under center, Mitch Trubisky. He and veteran backup Mason Rudolph have been splitting first-team reps in practice the past two days.
And offensive coordinator Matt Canada feels good about the team’s quarterback situation right now, all things considered. “You never want to be in this situation, but I think we’re in as good a spot as we could be with where we’re at,” he said on Thursday via transcript. “You just have to proceed forward and get ready to play.”
Trubisky is a 2017 former first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears with over 50 starts in his career. The Steelers drafted Rudolph in 2018 in the third round, and while he has never been named a starter, he has started 10 games over the past three seasons. But he hasn’t been active for a game all season as the number three and has hardly gotten work in practice during the regular season until now.
“I think we’re fortunate to have a really deep quarterback room, I’ll say that,” Canada added in the same answer. To a certain extent, they do in the sense that all three of the quarterbacks have meaningful and valuable experience.
But would any of them be chosen to be a starter on another team right now? Pickett has made strides since the bye week, but the jury remains decidedly out when it comes to ascertaining his long-term future. There have been positive signs, but not enough for any declarations.
From a practical standpoint, I think the Steelers would be comfortable putting any of their three quarterbacks on the field and trusting that they will know how to run the offense and command a huddle because they’ve seen all three of them do it at one time or another. Being successful and winning a game is another matter.
*According to reports, San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy started last night’s game after only throwing a handful of passes earlier in the day inside the team’s hotel. So I’m not sure how much on-field work the Steelers would demand that Pickett gets if they really believe he’s their best option provided that he’s medically cleared.