Mitch Trubisky is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Sunday against the New York Jets. But if Mike Florio is to be believed, there’s no guarantee of anything beyond that. Florio recently spoke about the Steelers’ QB situation and painted things in pretty clear terms, saying Trubisky’s time as the team’s starter is running out. Here’s what he said during a recent podcast with co-host Chris Simms.
“What I heard Thursday night, and I wrote something about this at PFT before the game, Trubisky is on thin ice with everyone in the organization except the head coach,” Florio said. “And there’s a strong push in that building to turn the page to Kenny Pickett.”
Of course, the most important part of the quote is “except the head coach.” There’s no question Mike Tomlin has loyally stood by Trubisky throughout this entire process, naming him the de facto starter back in the spring and carrying that throughout the summer. Wire to wire, Trubisky was considered the guy, even as rookie Kenny Pickett made big strides throughout the preseason.
As we’ve written about many times, the last person who will be willing to make a change is the only vote that matters – Tomlin’s. As impressive as Pickett looked, we wrote before the season again that Trubisky had more time than people thought.
“Tomlin’s going to go as far as he can with Trubisky before making a change. Who knows? That could be as long as Week 15…as long as Trubisky’s upright, Tomlin’s going to show plenty of faith in him. Probably too much faith. He’ll be wiling to make a change but he’ll be the last in Pittsburgh to think so. And ultimately, his vote is the only one that matters.”
That’s exactly the situation Pittsburgh finds themselves in today. Trubisky isn’t imploding and directly costing the Steelers’ games and until that happens, or Pittsburgh’s season is mathematically over, he’s likely to remain their starter. Sportsbooks loved making Pickett a rookie of the year favorite but it was a foolish bet. Right or wrong, and many will argue the latter, the Steelers have a plan and they’re not deviating from it at the first sign of trouble.
Still, if Florio is to be believed, and that’s a fairly big “if,” Tomlin may be on an island. If others in the organization feel like Pickett should start, that’s certainly worth noting. Who are those people? Is it Matt Canada, who sorta seemed to hint as much back in August. Is it QBs Coach Mike Sullivan? Is it the rest of the locker room? Cam Heyward has stood by Trubisky this whole time but as a leader and face of the franchise, he’d be the last to criticize Trubisky. Doing that would be an invitation for the rest of the locker room to publicly doubt Trubisky’s place as a starter and Heyward’s smart enough to follow Tomlin’s lead.
The only person who may sway Tomlin is Team President Art Rooney II. Rooney has more impact on the team’s moves than most in the national media think. He’s not Jerry Jones but he’s not a completely hands off “trust the coaches” like perhaps The Chief was. If Rooney steps in and wants a change, one could happen. But he also isn’t someone to jump ship either, meaning Trubisky likely remains the team’s starter for the next several weeks. Every loss will increase the heat on Tomlin to make a change and according to Florio, that pressure won’t come just from the outside. It’ll be internal, too.