On Tuesday, HC Mike Tomlin spoke to the media in his weekly press conference where he talked about the team’s loss Sunday at home against the Baltimore Ravens and previewed the team’s upcoming Week 15 matchup on the road against the Carolina Panthers this upcoming Sunday.
When Tomlin was asked about who would start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers should QB Kenny Pickett not be able to clear the concussion protocol in-time for Sunday’s game, Tomlin mentioned that both Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph will have an opportunity to start, but that he intends to leave the light on for Pickett should he be cleared to return to action against the Panthers.
“I’m going to work both guys this week if given an opportunity if [Pickett] is not able to participate,” Tomlin said to the media Tuesday on video from the team’s YouTube channel. “But really, I’m taking it day-by-day from a quarterback decision making standpoint. [Pickett’s] availability day-to-day is such a key component of it. And so, I’m not really looking toward the end of the week. I’m really kind of just looking ahead to what tomorrow looks like and playing it by ear from that perspective.
Tomlin mentioned to open up his press conference that Pickett is currently in the concussion protocol and will have to go through the various steps of the protocol before being allowed to return to the field. Pickett managed to progress quickly through the protocol last time he dealt with a concussion back in Week 7 after getting knocked out of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, allowing him to start against the Dolphins on Sunday Night Football.
In the meantime, Tomlin has left the door open regarding who may be Pickett’s replacement should he not be cleared in-time for the Carolina game on Sunday. Mitch Trubisky has been Pickett’s backup ever since Pickett usurped the starting job from him back in Week 4 against the Jets, having come in once before off the bench to lead the Steelers to victory against the Bucs the first time Pickett was concussed this season.
However, the results weren’t as good for Trubisky this last time filling in for Pickett as he threw three INTs, effectively losing the Steelers the game in a contest where just a single field goal could have been the difference. Given Trubisky’s struggles throughout the season and Mason Rudolph’s strong play in the preseason, this week of practice could go a long way in helping Tomlin decide who starts Week 15 in Carolina for the Steelers should Pickett not get the green light ahead of kickoff.