What would have to happen for Steelers to start Kenny Pickett in Week 4?
Mike Tomlin has made it clear that Mitch Trubisky is the starter for now, but here’s what would have to go wrong for the Steelers to make the change to Kenny Pickett.
I get where fans are coming from on both sides of the argument. One group of Pittsburgh Steelers fans wants Kenny Pickett to see the field as soon as humanly possible, while the other wants to make sure Mitch Trubisky gets a fair shot and is worried about Pickett being ruined by an offensive game plan that will limit his ability to make plays.
No matter what side of the fence you are on, we know all know that Kenny Pickett is going to get his shot sooner or later. The team didn’t spend the 20th overall pick on a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft only to have him rot on the bench. The decision to go from Trubisky to Pickett is incredibly likely to happen during the 2022 season, but could it happen as soon as Week 4?
Mike Tomlin has unsurprisingly indicated that Trubisky will be the starter against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football — this was fully expected on a short week. So what would have to go wrong for Pickett to be declared the starter as early as next week in a game in which he would have 10 days to prepare for the New York Jets?
Trubisky doesn’t make big plays vs Browns
Obviously, nobody should be rooting for the demise of Mitch Trubisky here, but the first thing that would have to happen in order for Pickett to start next week against the Jets would be that Trubisky continues to fail at coming up with big plays. This was the case in the first two weeks, so it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw much of the same on Thursday night.
In his first two games, Trubisky has managed a dismal 5.1 yards per attempt — good for 32nd in the NFL entering Week 3, via ESPN. There’s almost always a direct correlation between yards per attempt and how successful an offense is. The Steelers are scoring 15.0 offensive points per game, and the lack of big plays certainly plays a factor.
Steelers lose second straight game because of the offense
Mitch Trubisky might be on an even shorter leash right now had the defense not bailed him out of trouble in Week 1 against the Bengals with a whopping 5 takeaways (and a blocked extra point by Minkah Fitzpatrick). Still, if the Steelers lose their second game in a row because of a severe lack of offense and fall to 1-2 on the season, it’s going to get Mike Tomlin thinking.
If the defense can once again contain their opponent, but their offense can’t even manage 17 points for the third straight game, the coaching staff is going to be forced to look for something that could give them a boost. Again, we aren’t rooting for another abysmal outing or a loss, but this would help Kenny Pickett see the field sooner.
Tomlin recognizes too many missed opportunities
The third thing that would have to happen in order for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make a switch at quarterback in Week 4 would be Mitch Trubisky missing way too many opportunities in the passing game. While Matt Canada’s vanilla offense and poor passing concepts also deserve much of the blame, Trubisky has missed plenty of wide-open receivers down the field in the first two weeks.
If Mike Tomlin notices receivers constantly running free over the middle of the field on the coaches film after the game, he may not have a choice but to turn to the rookie in Week 4. Coming to the conclusion that Trubisky is the common denominator holding the offense back could be enough for Tomlin to deploy Pickett against the Jets.
I still think that the most likely scenario is that Mitch Trubisky is the starter in Week 4 against New York. However, if all three of these things happen against the Cleveland Browns this week, don’t be shocked if the Steelers turn to Kenny Pickett as early as next week.