Mike Tomlin Makes Final Call on Steelers QB Plans for ‘Entire’ Season

Getty Steelers HC Mike Tomlin reacts on the sideline.

The Steelers-Bengals game was one for the ages as the post-Ben Roethlisberger era officially kicked off in Pittsburgh. After Mike Tomlin made it known in a September 6 press conference that Mitch Trubisky would be the starter for the Steelers’ 2022 season, he took the field in Cincinnati and put on a solid performance.

It was a vote of confidence and trust in Trubisky from the brass that he was the man to get the job done for the new-era Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tomlin took that trust a step further when speaking with FOX NFL’s Jay Glazer moments before the September 11 season opener. Pittsburgh’s head coach revealed there’s no plan to go to rookie Kenny Pickett at any point this season.

“According to people inside [the Steelers organization], and those people are Mike Tomlin, this has always been Mitch Trubisky’s team,” Glazer said on FOX NFL Sunday.

“I know a lot of fans said Kenny Pickett, as he started playing well in the preseason; maybe the rookie has a chance. That’s not been the plan there in Pittsburgh. I talked to Mike [Tomlin] again this morning about it, and he said, ‘This is Trubisky’s team.'”

NFL reporter Dov Kleinman later added on Twitter, “The idea is for rookie Kenny Pickett to sit for the *entire* year.”

Despite what anyone thinks, this is a wise move by the 16th-year head coach. In a close race, experience wins. And Trubisky has it in spades. There’s no harm in allowing Pickett the time to develop and soak up knowledge. He is, after all, the future of the Steelers franchise.

While Trubisky didn’t exactly torch the Bengals’ defense (194 yards, touchdown), he played well enough not to lose the game. He also took care of the ball, committing no turnovers.

Though the news may come as a massive letdown for the Kenny Pickett Fan Club, this revelation should come as no surprise.

There’s also zero surprise that this nailbiter of a game came down to the wire, as these two storied franchises know each other very well.

Steelers Offense Versus Bengals

When you have Ben Roethlisberger, you run the offense a certain way. When you have Mitch Trubisky, you run it a different way. Things you couldn’t do with Roethlisberger are possible with the younger, more mobile Trubisky. And the Pittsburgh Steelers offense showed that today.

As The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly predicted via Twitter before the contest’s kickoff, Matt Canada got to deploy his full arsenal — play-action, moving pocket, motion, jet sweeps, end around –something he couldn’t pull off with Roethlisberger. It was refreshing to see.

This offense will get better as the season rolls on. They came away with the win to start the season undefeated, but for the defense’s five turnovers, the Steelers left a lot of points on the field.

If it weren’t for the big, early plays on the other side of the ball, it would’ve been a whole different ball game.

Steelers Defense on Fire

While quarterbacks have been the talk and focal point of the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, the defense was the story in the game. Minkah Fitzpatrick’s pick-six early in the first quarter set the tone for the game. Pittsburgh put on a virtuoso performance, creating highlight after highlight.

Fitzpatrick was on fire, and not once did that fire diminish in 60 minutes. He finished the game with 14 tackles, a critical defended pass in the end zone, and an interception for a touchdown.


Pittsburgh couldn’t get anything going on the ground, nor could Cincinnati. Though Joe Mixon ended the game with 82 yards rushing, it was on 27 carries for an average of three yards. It showed a unit that improved against the run when many weren’t sure it would.

Media and Steelers fans were down on two aspects: stopping the run and the offensive line. Both proved to be serviceable in Week 1.

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