With 6:27 left 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 went 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 might get an opportunity to ship a giant play for the Pittsburgh offense consequently.
The design referred to as for huge receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool to run deep crossing routes over the center, whereas rookie huge receiver George Pickens stretched the Patriots’ secondary with a publish route excessive.
Because the play unfolded, there was a window for Trubisky to be aggressive. Whereas Claypool and Johnson confused their crossing routes a bit, Pickens’ publish route drew the cornerback on that aspect of the sector deep, leaving nothing however the inexperienced grass of the sector at Acrisure Stadium in entrance of Johnson.
Trubisky noticed that, then blinked his eyes within the course of operating again Jaylen Warren on a checkdown route. Warren secures the catch, however is buried by security Jabrill Peppers proper on the line of scrimmage, forcing Mike Tomlin to ship his discipline purpose drive downfield.
When Trubisky got here off the sector, the gang instructed him how they felt concerning the determination.
By calling for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett by title.
The Steelers start Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season Thursday night time soccer, as they journey to Northeast Ohio to face 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 dialogue about Pittsburgh’s determination to call Trubisky the group’s beginning quarterback over Pickett, their first-round choose just a few months in the past.
The second that had the gang singing for the rookie highlights a difficulty new to Trubisky, relationship again to his days in Chicago. There are moments when, as a quarterback, it’s a must to let it rip. You may’t play the place scared, trying over your shoulder after each play, in worry of your substitute 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 piece in query:
Sure, as talked about above, the crossing routes aren’t executed to perfection, as Claypool and Johnson get tied up after they meet over the center. However with Pickens pulling cornerback Jonathan Jones deep down the sector on this single-high protection, there’s nothing however grass in entrance of Johnson as he works left to proper. Trubisky has an opportunity to be aggressive right here, drive Johnson into area, and possibly change the course of this sport.
As an alternative, he checks the ball down, and the boo birds begin chirping.
If this was one play, one singular second in the midst of a day of loosely managed chaos, that will be one factor. However that wasn’t the one second the place Trubisky handed up an opportunity to assault downfield for a safer management possibility. Take this play from later within the third quarter:
Sure, the Steelers choose up the primary down on this play, because of an unimaginable effort from Najee Harris. However this is usually a good instance of what to not do as a quarterback. The Steelers run a three-level idea to the best, with Pickens on a deep publish route, Johnson on a dig and tight finish Pat Friermuth on a curl route. Within the again, Claypool runs a digging route of his personal, whereas Harris escapes to the condo.
Each dig routes are open, and there’s a window for Trubisky to focus on both with the publish security staying deep in response to Picken’s publish route. However the quarterback checks it down.
Harris makes probably the most of this play, and the Steelers truly finish the drive with a landing, however leaving big-play alternatives on the sector is never a successful recipe over time.
Now, this is not to say that Trubisky did not do something proper within the loss to New England. There have been moments the place he executed the ideas properly, making some good reads and choices with the soccer. Even aggressive ones, like this gap shot in opposition to 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 choices like this one.
Or if they should see if Pickett can.
Pittsburgh is a notoriously affected person group, and it seems they’re in no rush to power Pickett onto the sector. After Sunday’s loss, the pinnacle coach famous that persistence stays the guiding gentle contained in the locker room. “I’ll train applicable persistence and proceed to show and ask guys to proceed to study in an effort to proceed to push this practice down the monitor and get higher,” Tomlin stated after the loss.
Nonetheless, he agreed with those that identified that Trubisky missed probabilities to push the ball downfield. In response to questions on whether or not the quarterback and offense might be aggressive, Tomlin merely stated “I believe he might and we might.”
Tonight might 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 off a miraculous comeback win. Longtime NFL reporter Ed Werner, on the radio Thursday morning, indicated that if the offense would not enhance, Pickett might get the decision:
Trubisky might see extra moments like those he noticed Sunday in opposition to the Patriots. Hanging within the pocket, with alternatives to push the ball downfield.
How he responds might decide how affected person the Steelers — and their followers — actually are.