Mitchell Trubisky isn’t the reply in Pittsburgh


With 6:27 remaining within the third quarter Sunday in opposition to the New England Patriots, Mitchell Trubisky broke the huddle with the remainder of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and walked to the road of scrimmage. The Steelers confronted a crucial third down in New England territory, trailing 10-3. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada had determined it was time to be aggressive, and Trubisky would possibly get his likelihood to ship an enormous play for the Pittsburgh offense because of this.

The design known as for large receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool to run deep crossing routes over the center, whereas rookie large receiver George Pickens stretched the Patriots’ secondary with a submit route excessive.

Because the play unfolded, there was a window for Trubisky to certainly be aggressive. Whereas Claypool and Johnson muddled their crossing routes a bit, Pickens’ submit route pulled the cornerback on that facet of the sphere deep, leaving nothing however the inexperienced grass of the sphere at Acrisure Stadium in entrance of Johnson.

Trubisky noticed it, after which flashed his eyes within the course of working again Jaylen Warren on a checkdown route. Warren secured the catch, however will get buried by security Jabrill Peppers proper on the line of scrimmage, forcing Mike Tomlin to ship his subject aim unit onto the sphere.

As Trubisky got here off the sphere, the gang let him understand how they felt concerning the choice.

By calling for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett by title.

The Steelers kickoff Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season on Thursday Night time Soccer, as they journey to northeast Ohio to tackle their AFC North rivals the Cleveland Browns in a conflict of 1-1 groups. However Trubisky’s play in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Patriots on Sunday has renewed the dialogue over Pittsburgh’s choice to call Trubisky the workforce’s beginning quarterback over Pickett, their first-round decide a number of months in the past.

The second that had the gang chanting for the rookie highlights a difficulty that’s new new to Trubisky, and dates again to his days in Chicago. There are moments the place, as a quarterback, it is advisable let it rip. You can not play the place scared, wanting over your shoulder after every play, fearing that your alternative is coming onto the sphere.

As a result of a concern of dropping your job, inflicting you to not do your job, is the sport’s largest self-fulfilling prophecy.

Right here is the play in query:

Sure, as famous above, the crossing routes should not executed to perfection, as Claypool and Johnson get tied up as they meet over the center. However with Pickens pulling cornerback Jonathan Jones deep downfield on this single-high protection, there may be nothing however grass in entrance of Johnson as he works left-to-right. Trubisky has an opportunity to be aggressive right here, to guide Johnson into area, and maybe change the course of this recreation.

As an alternative he checks the ball down, and the boo birds begin chirping.

If this have been one play, a singular second amidst a day of loosely-controlled chaos, it could be one factor. Nevertheless it was not the one second the place Trubisky handed up an opportunity to assault downfield for a safer checkdown choice. Take this play from later within the third quarter:

Sure, the Steelers decide up the primary down on this play, due to an unimaginable effort from Najee Harris. However this is likely to be a first-rate instance of what to not do as a quarterback. The Steelers run a three-level idea to the fitting, with Pickens on a deep submit route, Johnson on a dig, and tight finish Pat Friermuth on a curl route. Bottom, Claypool runs a dig route of his personal, with Harris releasing to the flat.

Each dig routes are open, and there’s a window for Trubisky to focus on both with the post-safety staying deep in response to Pickens’ submit route. However the quarterback checks it down.

Harris makes essentially the most of this play, and the Steelers certainly end the drive with a landing, however leaving alternatives for large performs on the sphere is never a profitable recipe over time.

Now, this isn’t to say that Trubisky did nothing proper within the loss to New England. There have been moments the place he executed the ideas effectively, and made some good reads and selections with the soccer. Even aggressive ones, like this gap shot in opposition to two-high protection late within the first half:

However the query dealing with Mike Tomlin and the Steelers for Week 3 — and past — is whether or not Trubisky can persistently elevate the Pittsburgh offense with extra throws, and aggressive selections like this one.

Or if they should see if Pickett can.

Pittsburgh is a notoriously-patient group, and they look like in no rush to pressure Pickett onto the sphere. After Sunday’s loss, the pinnacle coach famous that endurance stays the guiding gentle contained in the locker room. “I’m going to train acceptable endurance and proceed to show and ask the blokes to proceed to study in an effort to proceed to push this prepare down the observe and get higher,” Tomlin stated after the loss.

But he did agree with those that identified that Trubisky missed possibilities to push the ball downfield. In response to questions over whether or not the quarterback and the offense might be aggressive, Tomlin acknowledged merely “I feel he might and we might.”

Tonight might be a crucial check for that endurance. The Browns protection gave up some huge performs within the passing recreation final week to Joe Flacco, because the New York Jets pulled out a miraculous comeback win. Longtime NFL reporter Ed Werner, on the radio Thursday morning, indicated that until the offense improves, Pickett might get the decision:

Trubisky might see extra moments like these he noticed on Sunday in opposition to the Patriots. Hanging within the pocket, with a alternatives to push the ball downfield.

How he responds might decide simply how affected person the Steelers — and their followers — really are.


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