Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has yet to announce which quarterback will start in Week 1, but the team's social media account may have ruined that surprise. Mitchell Trubisky was named a team captain Monday, a sign he will get the start when the team takes the field Sunday.
If this news came out in early August, it would not have come as a surprise. Trubisky signed with the Steelers in free agency and prepared all offseason to be the team's starter. While the Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, Pickett received third-string reps early on in camp. Barring a tremendous preseason, it appeared Pickett wasn't a threat to win the job.
Well, Pickett delivered a strong preseason, showing timing and precision with the Steelers' offense. He finished the preseason with 261 passing yards and three touchdowns. Pickett did not throw an interception in three games. Trubisky did not perform poorly in the preseason, throwing two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Steelers gave another indication Trubisky would start Sunday. He's listed as the team's No. 1 option on a depth chart released by the club Monday.
While Mitch Trubisky is listed as starting QB, interesting note behind him: Mason Rudolph is the primary backup. Kenny Pickett is the third stringer. pic.twitter.com/T4SSEVDbmw
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 5, 2022
The Steelers released an updated depth chart on Tuesday, which still had Trubisky as QB1, but there was an important change. Pickett, who had originally been listed as No. 3 on the depth chart, was named as Trubisky's main backup, with Mason Rudolph serving as the third-stringer.
Steelers’ updated depth chart now lists rookie QB Kenny Pickett as the new backup to starter Mitch Trubisky. pic.twitter.com/3hQqkTHaYD
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 6, 2022
Kenny Pickett will get his chance to start
Though Pickett will likely start the year on the bench, he should have an opportunity to jump into the starting lineup soon. Pickett impressed enough to put pressure on Rudolph and Trubisky. Given how great Pickett looked in the preseason, Trubisky likely doesn't have a lot of room for error. If he gets off to a slow start, Pickett could see significant playing time before the Steelers' Week 9 bye.
It's up to Trubisky to prove he deserves to remain in the starting lineup. Trubisky has put up solid numbers in the past, but has not developed in line with his No. 2 overall draft status. After leaving the Chicago Bears, Trubisky opted to sit behind Josh Allen on the Buffalo Bills last season and develop.
It's possible Trubisky is a new man after leaving Matt Nagy behind and operating — albeit in a backup role — with a functional offense in Buffalo. If that's the case, Pickett will stay on the bench longer, but the Steelers will probably be winning games.
But if Trubisky hasn't progressed during his year as a backup, it's only a matter of time before Pickett hops into the starting role. Pickett put the pressure on Trubisky with an excellent preseason, so it's up to Trubisky to come out early and play mistake-free football if he wants to keep the job.