Steelers QB Rankings After First Week of Training Camp

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When a team loses its franchise quarterback to retirement (albeit past due), the search for a new field general takes center stage. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the thick of just that.

Players reported to Latrobe for training camp on July 26, but it wasn’t until the following day they took to the grass for practice. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has his watchful eye on everyone, but the quarterbacks are under the most scrutiny as camp ramps up.

With only so many reps to go around, it’ll be interesting to see how they’re divvied up going forward. The order remains as it has since organized team activities (OTAs) in the spring: Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett. Trubisky got all the first-team reps during the first week of camp, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko.

When the Steelers return to work on Monday, Aug. 1, we’ll see if Tomlin switches things up and gives Mason Rudolph a shot with the first team and Kenny Pickett a shot with the second.

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And the Winner is

Don’t panic. Don’t overreact. Those words are being echoed by media and fans about the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback race five days into training camp. But we’re bound to get worked up when we’ve been deprived of this level of competition since 2004.

Of course, it’s only been football in shorts — a far cry from anything that resembles live action — but it’s what we have to work from.

The most complete stats come from Steelers Depot, compiled from the first, third and fourth practices (the weather was uncooperative on day two and harder to tabulate).

By the numbers, Mason Rudolph is in the lead: 22-of-32 for 181 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

It should come as no surprise that Rudolph is ahead. He’s been to Latrobe, in the Steelers system for four seasons (10 starts) and he’s finally out from Ben Roethlisberger’s shadow.

All reports out of camp agree that Rudolph looks (mostly) calm, cool and collected. He’s not playing to keep the number two spot anymore; he’s battling to win the starting role for the first time as a pro. Doing so could mean a positive trajectory in his career — whether it’s in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

Trubisky’s stats over three practices: 16-for-32, 159 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

The former first-round pick has the most experience, with 57 career starts and a Pro Bowl. He led the Chicago Bears to the playoffs in 2018 and 2020 but is without a win. Though he’s had a rough start to camp, Trubisky has shown in past situations that he can rise above.

No matter the quarterback, the Steelers’ defense isn’t making things easy on these guys. As usual, T.J. Watt is a menace at the line of scrimmage, getting in the quarterbacks’ faces and batting down passes.

Camp is a huge component of a player’s development, especially the rookies. But whoever wins the Steelers starting gig will likely come down to preseason games — live action versus real opponents is when we’ll truly see a winner emerge.

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Hope for Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett rounds out the first week of competition in third place statistically. His numbers are 13-for-26, 55 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, things didn’t start off great for Pickett in the first team period on Saturday, July 30.

After Trubisky and Rudolph took every snap in the hotly contested seven shots (seven plays from the two-yard line) Thursday and Friday, Pickett finally got his opportunity on Saturday. And he seized it.

Pickett threw a laser on a fade to receiver Tyler Vaughns in the back corner of the endzone. Farabaugh said it was Pickett’s best throw through camp so far.

“Mike Tomlin was noticeably hyped at the play and gave Pickett a quick pat on the back afterward,” Farabaugh wrote. “For the first rep, the rookie got in the red zone; that is a great first impression to make. Pickett naturally will earn more as they ramp him up, but that does not mean Tomlin can not be a little excited on the field, even if he will not show it in a press conference setting.”

Unfortunately, Pickett went 0-for-4 on the next drill. He finished the day close to even at 4-for-7, according to Sports Illustrated’s Noah Stackbein.


It’s Just Camp

If you follow other teams around the NFL during training camp, you’ll likely remember it wasn’t too long ago that quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson were rookies, too.

Word out of Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens camps was that each was struggling. And just like us, their fans were getting antsy.

Fast forward to now, and Mahomes, Allen and Jackson are three of the best in the league. This is not to compare Pickett to these guys, only that quarterbacks have to start somewhere, and it’s not always pretty.

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