With 6:27 remaining within the third quarter Sunday towards 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 important third down in New England territory, trailing 10-3. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada had determined it was time to be aggressive, and Trubisky may get his likelihood to ship an enormous play for the Pittsburgh offense because of this.
The design known as for vast receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool to run deep crossing routes over the center, whereas rookie vast receiver George Pickens stretched the Patriots’ secondary with a publish 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’ publish route pulled the cornerback on that facet of the sector deep, leaving nothing however the inexperienced grass of the sector 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 area aim unit onto the sector.
As Trubisky got here off the sector, the group let him know the way they felt concerning the determination.
By calling for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett by identify.
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 determination to call Trubisky the crew’s beginning quarterback over Pickett, their first-round choose a couple of months in the past.
The second that had the group 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’s essential to let it rip. You can’t play the place scared, trying over your shoulder after every play, fearing that your alternative is coming onto the sector.
As a result of a worry of shedding 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 usually are 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’s nothing however grass in entrance of Johnson as he works left-to-right. Trubisky has an opportunity to be aggressive right here, to steer Johnson into area, and maybe change the course of this sport.
As a substitute 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. But it surely 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 choose up the primary down on this play, due to an unbelievable effort from Najee Harris. However this is likely to be a major instance of what to not do as a quarterback. The Steelers run a three-level idea to the precise, with Pickens on a deep publish 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’ publish route. However the quarterback checks it down.
Harris makes probably the most of this play, and the Steelers certainly end the drive with a landing, however leaving alternatives for large performs on the sector 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 nicely, and made some good reads and selections with the soccer. Even aggressive ones, like this gap shot towards two-high protection late within the first half:
However the query going through 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 sector. After Sunday’s loss, the top coach famous that persistence stays the guiding mild contained in the locker room. “I’m going to train acceptable persistence and proceed to show and ask the blokes to proceed to be taught in an effort to proceed to push this practice down the monitor and get higher,” Tomlin mentioned after the loss.
But he did agree with those that identified that Trubisky missed probabilities to push the ball downfield. In response to questions over whether or not the quarterback and the offense may very well be aggressive, Tomlin acknowledged merely “I feel he may and we may.”
Tonight may very well be a important take a look at for that persistence. The Browns protection gave up some large performs within the passing sport 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 except the offense improves, Pickett may get the decision:
Trubisky may see extra moments like these he noticed on Sunday towards the Patriots. Hanging within the pocket, with a alternatives to push the ball downfield.
How he responds may decide simply how affected person the Steelers — and their followers — really are.