Offensive coordinator problems aside, the Steelers, barring significant offensive improvements against the Jets, still have a quarterback controversy.
Unless the Steelers find a way out of their offensive slumber, the calls from the stands for Pickett will not go away. Tomlin will continue to face the annoying questions at his post-game press conference about when he will replace Trubisky with the rookie.
The Steelers created the quarterback controversy
Fans look at the problem one-dimensionally; the Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett as the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger, then they might as well play him. Thankfully, many fans do not work their way up into positions within NFL teams.
Nevertheless, the Steelers put themselves into a situation they should have known might backfire on the team. They went through a similar situation in 1974 when they benched Terry Bradshaw for an arguably more talented Joe Gilliam, but fans wanted the Blonde Bomber, and Chuck Noll finally put him back in.
The Steelers knew after the 2021 season that Matt Canada had his shortcomings but resisted calls to fire him then. They accepted his argument that Ben Roethlisberger was the problem for the faltering offense in 2021. The Steelers also knew that signing Trubisky came with risks. Nevertheless, in the miserly approach they love, the Steelers signed a suspect quarterback and kept a suspect offensive coordinator, yet drafted the hometown kid everyone wants to see play. Now, who is to blame now, Canada? Trubisky? The blame here falls on Tomlin and the Rooneys.
The difference between 1974 and 2022 is that Noll decided to experiment with someone who may have had more talent attempting to improve the team. The issue was that his experiment came about 10 to 15 years too early. In 2022 It’s a slightly different situation. It’s like the Steelers are driving around in a 2017 Chrysler 200 when they have a 2022 Ferrari Roma sitting in the garage. The Chrysler might get you from point A to Point B, assuming the engine doesn’t randomly shut off on you. Yet fans want to see the Steelers at least pull the Ferrari out of the garage. It might not get anywhere more reliably than the Chrysler, but at least you will look cool for the remainder of the season.
Arguments For Steelers staying with Trubisky
Honestly, it’s quite challenging to come up with overly compelling reasons to keep Trubisky as a starter other than playing the Matt Canada card. Nonetheless, there are a few, if anything else, simple reasons the Steelers might not want to pull out that Ferrari quite yet.
Considering the controversy surrounding Steelers Matt Canada, perhaps it is a logical conclusion to stay with Mitch win or lose, keep Pickett on the bench, then, in 2023, showcase him once the Steelers get a new offensive coordinator that can make a superstar quarterback out of Pickett. Not a fan favorite choice, but the Steelers give Pickett the best chance to succeed.
There is another perspective; we know the Steelers have Pickett for four seasons, five if you consider the 5th year option. Trubisky is only in Pittsburgh for the most two seasons. He is playing to prove he is good enough to lead another NFL team. Let him play out his first season regardless of the Steelers record, then Start Pickett in 2023. At least he is on the bench as a backup if Pickett gets injured. Again, it’s not a favorite fan decision, yet it’s less wear and tear on Pickett, leaving the tread on the tires for an extra year or two over the duration of his career.
Arguments for the Steelers to put in Pickett
The obvious argument is that the Steelers drafted him number one, paying him 14 million. Put him in, and let him play. If the Steelers can justify drafting him, then turn the reigns over to him. However, whereas the Steelers could do that with a young Ben Roethlisberger, it’s hard to fathom that Pickett would have Big Ben’s talent and longevity. That type of talent comes around very infrequently but then again, the Steelers drafted Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson, and Maurkice Pouncey in succession, so who knows, perhaps it all could work out.
A slightly better argument would be if Tomlin is going to have a losing season anyway, then put in Pickett now. The reason has slightly more merit, except the Steelers have not been eliminated from playoff contention quite yet. However, with no changes of any sort looming, it is not easy to see any scenario that drastically improves the offense without changing the primary signal caller.
However, the best argument, if there is a best argument for putting in Pickett, is if you don’t try him, then you don’t know how well he can perform. True, if he does not play, nothing changes. If you play him and the team goes on a winning streak, ok, the decision is justified. One other wrinkle, while perhaps Trubisky can not run the Steelers offense under Canada, suppose Pickett can? Possibly that could happen if Tomlin made a switch in quarterbacks.
He could fail, don’t forget the largest risk of all, which is the debatable part of putting him in now. Suppose Tomlin did, and he flames out; how does that affect his remaining time in Pittsburgh? Could that cause the Steelers to go quarterback shopping in the 2023 draft? Probably not, but then you have totaled your new Ferrari and find out you don’t have insurance. He will not be the hometown hero anymore, for sure.
It’s a risky proposition It may work or perhaps not, yet the pressure will mount from the media, ownership, and boos from the stands to do something. If not, fire Canada just to appease fans; Tomlin will have to do something. Well, it’s anyone’s guess what his move is, but for now, do not expect Tomlin to make any course corrections yet. Even if his job might be on the line at the end of the season, do not expect the quarterback controversy to go away anytime soon.