Kenny Pickett is officially recognized as the most popular person in Pittsburgh.
On the Sunday afternoon the Steelers lost their first home game to the New England Patriots, there were at least two occasions when CBS microphones picked up the crowd at Acrisure Stadium chanting “KEN-NI! KEN-NI!” and expressing a desire to have Mitchell Trubisky replaced by rookie quarterback. And not just the fans â the Steelers’ longtime reporter beat Ed Bushette tweeted he, too, had seen enough of Trubisky.
It’s a problem for every team when they’re struggling on offense and there’s either a famous or intriguing quarterback on the bench behind the starter. And, frankly, there was a lot of criticism of offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
However, the fans did not chant for someone to replace his. Against New England, the Steelers opened the game with three points, but then converted five consecutive third-bet chances on two possessions, but still walked away with just three points. One drive ended when Trubisky was intercepted by a badly thrown first down from the Patriots’ half field:
On the next drive, Pittsburgh moved the ball fairly well and made it to New England 13 when a series of third downs ended with Trubisky being fired for a 5-yard loss. The Steelers agreed to a field goal.
Trubisky is clearly not a long term QB solution. It may not even be a short-term decision, as Pittsburgh selected Pickett 20th overall in this year’s draft, a former University of Pittsburgh star who played in the same stadium as the Steelers in college and was well known. with his new team.
“That’s what it is,” Trubisky said of the post-game chant. “You just block it.”
Even though he’s in his sixth season in the NFL and spent the past year as an understudy with the Buffalos, Trubisky doesn’t seem to have made much headway since joining the league. He has his moments, but they are outweighed by poor decision making, inconsistent shooting, a penchant for telegraph passes and bad sacks.
In two games this season, Trubisky and the Steelers’ forwards have only scored two touchdowns and gone into the red zone just four times. Last week, the defense threw five turnovers in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals – and the offense Still extra time was needed, not to mention the fact that he was lucky to block an extra point at the end of the regulations, just to score 23 points.
“We didn’t move the ball well enough offensively,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after Sunday’s loss. “Not Enough Splash [plays]’, especially in the final moments.”
Trubisky’s longest finish against New England was 23 yards at the end of the first half. Tomlin paid tribute to the Patriots’ defense, specifically pointing out the presence of veteran safety Devin McCourty, which is one of the reasons the Steelers haven’t had many deep tries. But Trubisky averaged just 5.1 yards per try that day, for just 168 yards in 21 completions.
This, of course, is not all Trubisky. Former patriot shooter Olszewski missed a punt in the third quarter, and the New England recovered at the Pittsburgh 10, scoring three games later to take a 17â6 lead. The Steelers defensive front, playing without an injured T.J. Watt, failed to capitalize on New England’s subpar offensive line, failing to sack Mack Jones and taking only three hits from the quarterback.
The coming days in Pittsburgh will be filled with calls for Pickett, but the Steelers will play a short week and play against division rival Cleveland on Thursday night. So playing as a beginner against a strong defense with only a couple of days of preparation seems far from ideal.
But 4 weeks? It’s a different story. The Steelers will host the Jets on October 2, by which time the calls for Pickett could be deafening.
Tomlin never succumbed to the whims of outside pressure, but once Pittsburgh picked Pickett, Trubisky was destined to become a bridge quarterback. Trubisky’s own piece makes it clear that this is to be a short bridge.
The Steelers have talented players from Nadji Harris to Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool. Even with Watt’s healing, they have solid defenses. What they need to be competitive in an incredibly strong AFC is a top quarterback.
They may have one on the bench. They won’t know until they do what the fans want and walk away from Trubisky.