When should Steelers give up on Mitch Trubisky and start Kenny Pickett?

Mitch Trubisky #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a game against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Mitch Trubisky #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a game against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Mitch Trubisky has been a colossal disappointment thus far. When should the Pittsburgh Steelers make the switch to rookie QB Kenny Pickett? 

Though we are only two games into the 2022 season, it’s getting incredibly difficult to keep coming up with reasons as to why Mitch Trubisky should remain the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most assumed that an abysmal offensive line was going to be the downfall of this offense early in the season, but that really hasn’t been the case at all.

While the offensive line has been far from perfect, they certainly are not the biggest liability so far. In fact, this unit has graded out as the 11th-best in the league in terms of pass protection, according to Football Outsiders. Additionally, Pro Football Focus believes that Chukwuma Okorafor has been the 4th-best offensive tackle in the NFL so far and that both Kevin Dotson and James Daniels have been top-18 among guards early in 2022.

After watching the Steelers-Patriots game a second and third time, it was evident that Mitch Trubisky was seeing ghosts out there. He had tunnel vision all game long and was content checking the ball down underneath instead of hanging in the pocket to make plays at the sticks.

Obviously, he’s not the only one to blame. I thought Matt Canada’s poor game plan had a big impact on Trubisky’s lack of production. Canada’s route concepts were a mess, and through two games, it’s looking like he’s trying to over-protect his QB from making mistakes. Sadly, this is coming at the cost of not moving the ball effectively or scoring points.

Steelers should consider Pickett as early as Week 4

While Trubisky isn’t the sole reason Pittsburgh’s offense is struggling, it certainly seems like a fair question to ask when the Steelers will turn to their first-round pick to lead this team. Kenny Pickett wasn’t drafted to ride the bench. Mike Tomlin has voiced that he believes Pickett is pro-ready, and it’s getting hard to keep the 24-year-old rookie watching from the sidelines.

One of the biggest concerns I have about going to Pickett is whether the offense would look more or less the same as it does right now. Everything Matt Canada does is incredibly scripted, and he doesn’t allow much room for creativity on the part of the QB. This was evident in the preseason as well, as Canada gave Pickett very simple reads in a game plan designed for him to take care of the football.

If the game plan remains much of the same with Kenny Pickett at the helm, the offense could still be very bland and it could ultimately hurt his confidence and limit his upside to make big plays over the middle of the field and with his legs.

Another thing that had me worried about switching to Pickett was the offensive line. So far, however, this has proven to be far less of an issue than I initially thought it would be. The OL has actually done a pretty good job holding up over the first two games.

So when should Kenny Pickett see the field? Though it won’t happen on a short week against the Cleveland Browns, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a change take place as early as Week 4. If Trubisky has another game where he can’t muster up much more than 5.0 yards per pass attempt and struggles to put points on the board, the team could turn to Pickett against the New York Jets in Week 4 in a game that would give him roughly 10 days to prepare for.

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This might be wishful thinking. I still think the most likely scenario is that the Steelers take their lump with Mitch Trubisky until the bye week — assuming the team hasn’t completely collapsed by then. However, I think Kenny Pickett could see the field earlier than we anticipated if Pittsburgh’s offense continues to struggle.