Mike Tomlin insists Russell Wilson has 'pole position' to be the starting QB in 2024

Tomlin endorses Russell Wilson as the quarterback in prime position to earn the starting job.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Mike Tomlin spoke to the media during the NFL owners' meetings regarding a number of topics. Of course, no topic has been bigger for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year than the quarterback position. In the most unusual fashion, this team found themselves with both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields on their roster in 2024.

Early reports were that Tomlin called Wilson while the Fields trade was processing to inform Wilson that he would be the starting quarterback. It was later reported that the Steelers told Fields he would be the backup to begin the year.

While eliminating QB competition before it begins seems like an unusual move, that seems to be what's happening. During the NFL owners' meetings, Tomlin confirmed that Wilson has 'pole position' in the quarterback race, per NFL Network.

"We're not resistant to competition, but as I've mentioned several times of late, I just think it's appropriate to establish positioning as we get into this thing. The term that I've used is Russell [Wilson] has 'pole position'. And why do I use that term? Because, during this time, where we are not formally working, I just think is beneficial. His experience in the National Football League; His process that's been honed and perfected -- talking about over a twelve-month calendar -- is not only good for him, it's good for teams...It just creates a synergy that I think is good for this time of year."

Mike Tomlin, via NFL Network

Tomlin noted the benefits to the wide receivers and other offensive positional groups of having a veteran leader at quarterback who prepares the way that Wilson does.

The Steelers head coach still spoke very highly of Justin Fields -- stating that he 'oozes talent and potential.' Tomlin noted that Fields will be given an opportunity to prove himself in training camp, but said that he gets the opportunity to come in and learn from a guy like Wilson.

Steelers take a familiar approach when it comes to quarterback seniority

Both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields are new to the Steelers, but Wilson is a decade older than Fields and has been around the league for a long time. This is why Mike Tomlin feels confident saying that Wilson has 'pole position' when it comes to quarterback competition.

Wilson is the player with an extensive resume that includes numerous playoff wins and a Super Bowl ring (though those days are well behind him at this point). Tomlin didn't completely shut down quarterback competition in 2024, but his statement to the media would suggest that Wilson clearly has the upper hand.

This means that Fields would likely need to go above and beyond this summer in training camp to prove that he is the better option at the position. If the race is close, we can expect Tomlin to stay true to the initial report that Wilson will be the starter to begin the season.

This is a topic that isn't going away anytime soon. If Russell Wilson is handed the QB job, fans are going to be chanting for Justin Fields at the first sign of struggle. This is just the nature of the position. We will have to wait until Steelers training camp to see how things ultimately unfold.