Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky ‘on Thin Ice With (Almost) Everyone’: Insider

Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

Nick Cammett/Getty Images Mitch Trubisky of the Pittsburgh Steelers heads off the field after losing to the Cleveland Browns 29-17 on September 22, 2022.

In the wake of the Steelers’ 29-17 loss to the Browns on Sept. 22, there was speculation that head coach Mike Tomlin would pull the trigger on a quarterback change and make the switch from Mitch Trubisky to rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett. Alas, he declined to do so, telling the media “we’ve been better with every outing, and so it’s reasonable to expect those improvements to continue.”

Tomlin went on to concede that “we haven’t done enough to win the last two football games (New England, at Cleveland), so there’s reason for alarm as it pertains to that. But largely I’m seeing improvements in all areas, whether that’s individuals or whether it’s the collective.”

But even as Tomlin has been calling for patience when it comes to Trubisky and the development of the team’s offense, there may be a growing chorus of voices within the organization who feel it’s time to take the former No. 2 overall pick out of the lineup.

Mike Florio: ‘A Strong Push … to Turn the Page’

So says Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who has heard that “Trubisky is on thin ice with everyone in the organization except the head coach. And there is a strong push in that building to turn the page to Kenny Pickett.”

According to Florio, the primary frustration among Steelers players, coaches and members of the front office is that Trubisky isn’t being aggressive enough.

“These guys are open and he’s not throwing the ball,” added Florio, who took the opportunity to claim that the ‘Fire Matt Canada’ movement is misguided, for at least two reasons.

“Look, if the receivers are saying they are open, that’s not an indictment of the plays, that’s an indictment of the player who is supposed to get the ball to the open guy,” he said. Florio also argued that it’s easier to make a change at quarterback than coordinator because “you don’t have a backup offensive coordinator.”

The latter is a debatable statement, as Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan has four years of experience as an NFL offensive coordinator, having served in that role for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13) and with the New York Giants (2016-17). So the Steelers could conceivably make an in-season change at coordinator without having to go outside the organization.

Chris Simms: The Steelers Are ‘Waiting for the Right Moment’

As for the prospect of Tomlin making a quarterback change: “They are waiting for the right moment. It’s going to happen. But I don’t think they are ready to abandon ship yet. He wants to gut it out with Trubisky and give Pickett plenty of time,” said Florio’s broadcast partner, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms.

“I think the Week 9 bye is what we need to watch,” opined Florio, after which the Steelers will be past a difficult stretch of games at Buffalo, Tampa Bay, at Miami and at Philadelphia, with the Eagles being the only undefeated team at this point in time. And there’s always the possibility that Trubisky will get hurt at some point, which would open the door for Pickett, much like a Tommy Maddox elbow injury in Week 2 of the 2004 season opened the door for rookie first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger.

But if Trubisky and the offense don’t start scoring more touchdowns, it’s going to become harder and harder for Tomlin to resist change.

“The (home) crowd is going to be hostile” if Trubisky doesn’t play well vs. the Jets, said Florio, perhaps stating the obvious.

But Tomlin may simply be trying to protect his rookie quarterback, thinking to himself: “We can’t run the ball, we don’t protect all that great (and) it’s not that easy to play quarterback. And I think if you throw Kenny Pickett in there right at this moment, you might still miss some of those plays,” offered Simms, who agrees that the pressure to make a quarterback change may increase that much more if Trubisky & Co. struggle against New York.

“I do wonder if it’s bad this week and they do lose to the Jets, maybe the public pressure maybe becomes too much,” he concluded.

Stay tuned. Kickoff against the Jets is at 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 2 at Acrisure Stadium.