Can Steelers compete in a brutal AFC North with Mitch Trubisky at QB?

Bills brought in Mitch Trubisky to finish the game against Washington.Jg 09221 Bills 29
Bills brought in Mitch Trubisky to finish the game against Washington.Jg 09221 Bills 29 /

After being a backup quarterback for a season, does Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky have what it takes to shine amongst the talented quarterbacks of the AFC? 

In a division with quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and now, Deshaun Watson, it’s easy for Steelers fans to wonder if Mitch Trubisky can compete with the rest of the talented quarterbacks in the division. Luckily for Trubisky, he may just have a better opportunity to shine this upcoming season.

Trubisky started his NFL career with the Chicago Bears, as the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. While his stats weren’t what anyone would expect from a second overall pick, he certainly wasn’t drafted into the best situation. The Bears were just 3-13 in the 2016 season.

Eventually, Trubisky took over the starting job in Chicago and showed some improvements over the rest of his time with the Bears. In 2018 and 2020, Trubisky led the Bears to a playoff-berth. Although the playoff appearances were short, they were still impressive for a Bears team led by one of the worst coaches we’ve seen in recent years, Matt Nagy.

In Chicago, under the Nagy regime, Trubisky built up a 29-21 record as a starter. That’s a winning record, which is a good enough stat for Steelers fans when it comes to coaching performance. In that time he also threw 64 touchdowns and 38 interceptions. Not a bad statistic either, considering the poor offense his coaches schemed.

In his five seasons, Trubisky built a 64.1 pass completion percentage. He also rushed for 1,081 yards, a good sign that he can be a mobile quarterback when those situations arise.  And those situations will appear, but maybe less frequently than last season.

Steelers have given Trubisky the opportunity to succeed

The Steelers finally made a firm investment in their offensive line with the recent signing of Mason Cole, James Daniels, and resigning Chukwuma Okorafor. A good sign for fans that watched an unprotected and immobile Ben Roethlisberger compete last season.

While it is still to be seen if Cole and Daniels can bolster the offensive line, there is a hope that their experience can greatly improve the offense, particularly the run game. With better linemen and a great young running back in Najee Harris, the run game should finally look to become the foundation of Pittsburgh football again.

In addition to the offensive transactions, the Steelers have added key pieces on defense that should minimize the impact opposing quarterbacks have in games. The Steelers recently added cornerback Levi Wallace and linebacker Myles Jack to the already talented defense. All that’s left now to do is draft Jordan Davis, give Minkah Fitzpatrick an extension, and sign another safety, maybe Tyrann Mathieu?

Building a defense that can contain the talented quarterbacks in the division will help to give Trubisky better opportunities to shine when he does take the field.

Getting Trubiskiy through free agency opens up avenues for the Steelers to acquire some additional offensive weapons. With the departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington, the team is in a prime position to add to the wide receiver room in this year’s draft.

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Signing Trubisky wasn’t quite what I expected the Steelers to do this offseason. However, looking at his numbers and his good performance for a bad team, has given me hope that he might just be a fitting successor to Roethlisberger. This also gives me a reason to believe that given a better team and situation, Trubisky will have success in a division of excellent quarterbacks.