Kenny Pickett exited the Steelers’ loss to the Ravens last week with a concussion, and he has not recovered in time to play tomorrow. As a result, he has been ruled out, and Pittsburgh will once again turn to Mitch Trubisky as its starting quarterback, per a team announcement.
The veteran finished the Week 14 contest after Pickett suffered his second concussion this year. The team’s offense generated notable yardage with Trubisky at the helm, but three interceptions sealed their fate and represented the latest example of why Pickett was named the No. 1 in Week 5. Trubisky split first-team reps with third-stringer Mason Rudolph this week, inviting speculation that the latter could see his first action of the year; instead, he will dress as the backup. However, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com say that Trubisky could be on a short leash and, if he should struggle, he may pulled in favor of Rudolph.
Trubisky joined the Steelers on a two-year deal this offseason, one in which the team needed to make both short- and long-term moves aimed at finding a Ben Roethlisberger successor. The 28-year-old has made six total appearances (including four starts) in 2022, putting up numbers essentially in line with his career averages with respect to completion percentage (63.3) and yards-per-attempt-average (6.8). He has thrown for 1,073 yards and, after last week’s contest, has more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four).
Despite being under contract for 2023, then, speculation has increased that the Steelers will move on from him in the coming offseason. A trade sending him elsewhere would, in a best-case scenario, likely represent another opportunity to compete for a starting role during training camp with a younger signal-caller. Rudolph, meanwhile, is a pending free agent, so the team’s actions with respect to Trubisky could substantially affect his standing with the organization.
Pittsburgh faces a long road to a playoff berth at 5-8, especially compared to their Week 15 opponent, the Panthers, despite Carolina boasting the same record. The Steelers have been underwhelming in almost every category on offense this season – a reflection of both of their signal-callers – but their commitment to a healthy Pickett both now and in the future could add significance for Trubisky on Sunday and for any further games in which he receives the nod.