Former Bills QB Seizes Control of Quarterback Competition in Pittsburgh

Mitch Trubisky

Getty Mitch Trubisky warms up before a game against the Houston Texans.

When Mitch Trubisky first hit free agency in 2021, the Buffalo Bills knew he would be fielding offers where he could compete for a starting job, so tried a different strategy to convince him to sign.

General manager Brandon Beane said he sold Trubisky on the idea of playing behind Josh Allen for one season and working with the same coaching staff that had helped develop Allen into a top-tier quarterback. The Bills could not offer as much money as other teams and essentially no chance to start unless Allen had been injured, but Trubisky was sold on the idea.

Every part of that plan now appears to be coming to fruition. After one season in Buffalo where he remained injury-free and impressive in the limited opportunities behind Allen, Trubisky signed with the Steelers and now appears poised to grab the starting job in Pittsburgh.

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Trubisky Rises to the Top

As Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, Trubisky is on track to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback in Week 1. Trubisky has come out ahead in the open competition that includes veteran Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett, and said he’s adopting the mindset that he’s the starting quarterback.

“I’m preparing to be a starter,” Trubisky said. “I feel like, no matter what position you’re in, that’s the way you should prepare. I wouldn’t read too much into it, but I’m getting a lot of good reps. I feel really comfortable in the offense. I feel very confident.”

Despite Rudolph’s familiarity with the Steelers offense, Dulac noted that Trubisky has immersed himself in the playbook. He has attended all of OTAs and minicamp, and even invited the team’s other quarterbacks and pass-catchers to train together near his home in Florida.

Dulac noted that Trubisky had dinner at the home of now-retired Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, picking his brain about what it’s like to be the starter in Pittsburgh.

“I feel it’s important to be myself,” Trubisky said. “If I just come in here and be me and be a leader for this offense and be a guy that other guys can come to and talk to and learn from and go out on the field and work hard with, then I’ll earn that respect and trust. That’s all I’m trying to do.”

Bills Add Another Veteran

After the expected departure of Trubisky in free agency, the Bills moved to add another veteran to serve as Josh Allen’s backup by trading for Case Keenum. While he will likely not see much playing time as long as Allen stays healthy, Keenum did take advantage of a rare offseason absence for Allen to shine.

As The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia reported, Keenum served as the team’s primary quarterback while Allen was away from OTAs for a few days before competing in The Match, a televised golf competition. Buscaglia noted that Keenum looked sharp despite some trying weather conditions at the outdoor practice.

“Keenum [excelled] through the winds that most of the offensive skill players had to fight through during the practice,” Buscaglia reported. “Those same winds gave third-string quarterback Matt Barkley some problems with a few sailing passes, making Keenum’s control impressive. Keenum lost some of that zip when he was pushing the ball down the field, but he remained on target.”

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