Bill Cowher Reveals Favorite in Steelers QB Competition

Getty Bill Cowher celebrates on sideline with Ben Roethlisberger.

Bill Cowher has been out of the NFL for nearly as long as he was in it. But just as Bo Knows Baseball, Bill Knows Quarterbacks and continues to study them as an analyst for CBS Sports.

For the bulk of Cowher’s 15 year-career as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he didn’t have the luxury of a “franchise” quarterback. It wasn’t until the start of what would be his final three seasons coaching in the NFL that Ben Roethlisberger fell into his lap.

Cowher’s first quarterback was Neil O’Donnell, who spent five seasons in Pittsburgh after being drafted during Chuck Noll’s final season. When O’Donnell left the Steelers for the New York Jets after the 1995 season, Cowher faced a similar situation to Mike Tomlin’s: A crowded quarterback room.

Mike Tomczak, Kordell Stewart and Jim Miller were all vying for offseason reps, and there just weren’t enough to go around. Cowher’s solution was unconventional and would not go over well today for obvious reasons.

“We had three quarterbacks, and I just remember at that time, I said, ‘Okay, we’ll try to split it up,’” Cowher told SXM’s Movin’ the Chains. “If you remember, at a very early time in that process, I asked Kordell to go to receiver because it was just too hard to get three quarterbacks enough reps to really legitimize, to make a very true evaluation. So, I think that’s going to be the toughest thing for them to do.”

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Experience Will Get You Nowhere

Mason Rudolph has a leg up on the competition solely because he’s heading into his fourth season in the Pittsburgh Steelers system. But, like many of us, Cowher doesn’t believe experience equates to starting for the Black & Gold in 2022. Instead, he likes a guy the least familiar with the Steelers in Mitch Trubisky.

“I do like Mitch Trubisky,” said Cowher. “I think he’s athletic, he can get on the perimeter. I think a lot of the things Ben [Roethlisberger] did early in his career and was not doing late in his career, they have that now in that backfield. I think you’ve got three guys who can move around. There’s a lot more athleticism, I would say, back there, but you don’t have the veteran guy that is out there making all the calls. So, it’s going to be a different case. It’s going to be a new system, you know Mason has the up on that because he’s been in this system before, but at the same time, I do like Mitch Trubisky.”

Steelers fans have seen very little of what an offense like Matt Canada’s can bring. Ben Roethlisberger’s limitations stunted the full potential of Canada’s motion-based scheme, but the offense should open up significantly with the addition of two quarterbacks in Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, who have proven they can produce outside the pocket when it’s called for.

“Trubisky’s a guy that’s very good outside the pocket. He’s very good on the move. Very accurate there. I think he would fit well with his offense.”

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