With the Pittsburgh Steelers playing yet another offensively inefficient game, questions keep coming up about the team’s starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. That said, many are pondering why head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t put Trubisky on the bench in favor of the team’s first-round pick, quarterback Kenny Pickett. Recently retired corner and five-year Steelers Joe Harden weighed in on Tomlin’s coaching style and potential adjustments, including center, Rich Eisen Show Friday.
“I think Coach Tomlin will study the tape very well,” Harden said when asked about the Steelers’ game against Cleveland. “Show that it’s the little things and changes we can make yesterday. The Steelers could easily win that game yesterday. He’s not reacting quickly, he’ll watch the tape, figure out what he’s doing, and coach some guys. Like I said, just a little more third place to stop Nick Chubb from running the ball.”
The Steelers’ offense was one of nine in the third down transition and struggled to contain Browns running back Nick Chubb in key situations. It’s far from unreasonable to point to these two areas as the main reason for the Steelers’ loss and as a point of improvement. As Harden said, the game against Cleveland was close for the Steelers, and more third conversions and Chubb’s stop might have just changed the outcome.
“Coach Tomlin is very self-aware,” Harden continued. “I think he knows the heartbeat of this team. If you don’t perform, he’s able to talk to us in a very transparent way. He’ll be there, he’ll be on Trubisky, on the line, on everybody, so you know Where you stand, knowing you need to keep your stuff going.”
Coach Tomlin is known for his no-nonsense and transparent coaching with players and the media. This is most common when teams are in trouble, as Tomlin is known to take responsibility where it should be.
This accountability is probably the best way to handle Thursday’s loss and prepare for Week 4. Substituting the starting quarterback is a big decision, and despite external pressure, Tomlin’s lack of rush to make it may be the best option. In fact, Trubisky is in his first season with the team, and the learning curve is to be expected. While starting Pickett may have its benefits, and may be the right move, the opposite is possible, if not greater. Also, a quarterback change may not be the fundamental issue the team needs to address, as Trubisky is struggling, as Ben Roethlisberger is doing in 2021.
The team’s upcoming opponents include the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles. All four games will be tested in Pittsburgh, where a seasoned veteran quarterback arguably gives them their best chance. As the team prepares for a long break ahead of the Week 4 game against the New York Jets, it may be best to focus on team-oriented issues such as third downs and run defenses. Tomlin doesn’t seem eager to make any changes at the quarterback position, and that’s fine for now.