Steelers’ Mike Tomlin expecting ‘fierce’ competition for starting quarterback job

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have three quarterbacks on their roster who could likely start as QB1 during the first week of the season – Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett.

Coach Mike Tomlin is expecting the competition this summer to ramp up.

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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin expecting ‘fierce’ competition for starting quarterback job

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches from the sideline during the wild-card playoff football game against the Chiefs, Jan. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Missouri.
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

“I expect it to be fierce because I know all three guys. I don’t expect anyone to take a back seat. The challenge is from a structure standpoint. Are we providing enough of a platform for all the guys to show what they’re capable of? And so that’s going to be the challenge component of it,” Tomlin told Rich Eisen on Wednesday on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

“I’m excited about watching these guys compete, just like I am at any position where you’ve got some viable options. So, we will proceed with that understanding, that it’s going to be challenging from an organization standpoint, but it’s a good challenge and I’m excited about watching those guys perform.”

Tomlin added he doesn’t see any issue with Pickett entering a quarterback room already filled with two veterans and doesn’t necessarily believe the veterans need to mentor the young rookie.

“It’s good when it occurs but it’s certainly not necessary. That’s why we have offensive coordinators, quarterback coaches, assistant quarterback coaches. People are employed and their sole focus is the development of players. Certainly there’s growth and development opportunities and learning opportunities among players, but it is definitely not their function,” he said.

LESEAN MCCOY CALLS OUT TITANS’ RYAN TANNEHILL FOR SAYING MENTORING ROOKIE QB MALIK WILLIS ISN’T HIS JOB

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett throws against North Carolina on Nov. 11, 2021, in Pittsburgh. 

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett throws against North Carolina on Nov. 11, 2021, in Pittsburgh. 
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

“Their function is to have themselves ready to go and be good teammates, and I think that’s probably what you speak to just in terms of providing common human decency and courtesy to someone if you can help them along the way. I’m sure Ryan (Tannehill) is open to that, but I think he was just stating the obvious that he’s not employed to do that. He’s employed to play quarterback.”

Steelers star wide receiver Chase Claypool is also looking forward to the competition.

Claypool was in attendance for the Parlor Games Celebrity Basketball Classic at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas Saturday and told Fox News Digital no matter who wins the quarterback competition, the Steelers will be in good shape.

“It makes for a great competition between those three. Those guys want to come out on top. No matter who it is, we’re going to be pretty good,” the third-year player said.

Pickett was the first quarterback off the board last week when the Steelers chose him No. 20 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 23-year-old played five years with the Panthers. His best year came in 2021.

Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Panthers warms up for the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 4, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Panthers warms up for the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 4, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(Logan Whitton/Getty Images)

He had 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdown passes. He took a major leap in what he could bring to the table and increased his draft stock in the process. He was among the best quarterbacks in the draft even if he fell all the way to the 20th overall selection.

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Trubisky bounced from the Chicago Bears to the Buffalo Bills last season. He served as a backup to Josh Allen in 2021. Rudolph has been a backup for the Steelers for the last three seasons. He’s started 10 games so far in his career.



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