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Arthur Smith Addresses Potential Steelers QB Competition

Arthur Smith referenced Mike Tomlin’s ‘pole position’ comments when asked about a potential quarterback competition this offseason.

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson Justin Fields
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields at OTAs on June 4, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Do the Pittsburgh Steelers have a quarterback competition? For the first time since the NFL Draft, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith spoke to the media, and he discussed the exact definition of the Steelers’ quarterback room. He referenced Mike Tomlin’s previous comments that Russell Wilson remains in ‘pole position’ but that things could continually heat up once training camp comes.

“No, Mike said it on the record,” Smith said. “Russell’s in the pole position. But it’s a competition, and obviously, we’ll get to Latrobe, and certainly I’m sure things will heat up. But both of those guys knew that however they got here and were acquired, and we’ve been very transparent about that. I know Mike said that as well.”

In other words, Wilson has always had a step up, but it sure doesn’t seem like there is a guarantee there. But the Steelers, for now, have maintained that Wilson is that spot, mostly because they have so much change on offense, and the guys need a direction to follow throughout the offseason. Otherwise, it would be hard for the team to build chemistry, which could lead to sloppy play right from the jump.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields at OTAs on June 4, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“I just think it’s appropriate to establish positioning as we get into this thing,” Tomlin said in March. “The term that I’ve used is Russell has pole position. Why do I use that term? Because during this time when we’re not formally working, I just think it’s beneficial. His experience in the National Football League. His process that’s been honed and perfected, talking about over a 12-month calendar, is not only good for him, it’s good for teams. It’s good for receivers, running backs, tight ends, etc. All the things that people that are really committed to winning do this time of year, Russell has those resources, that structure, and so that’s why I say he has pole position. It just creates a synergy that I think is good for this time of year.”

In other words, the Steelers do view this as wide open, but Wilson’s pedigree and veteran presence naturally earned him this spot to start. Fields will have to work on an uphill climb, but the job is there for the taking if he plays well enough. Smith and Tomlin have both echoed that Fields will be given the chance to compete when the time is right, which seems to be in Latrobe at training camp.

Fields has pedigree coming from someone who was supposed to be the franchise guy in Chicago. Wilson has a chip on his shoulder after his stint in Denver exploded. In other words, expect this to continue developing throughout the entirety of the offseason, and the Steelers will take the best man out of the competition between Fields and Wilson.

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
June 11, 2024 2:25 pm

Some in media know what the REAL deal is… yet publishing the story of ‘competition’ makes for better reading… Some in media are just plain clueless, as usual…

Do you think, under the circumstances, that coaches telling media ‘all’ things Steelers is beneficial to The Steelers Club?

Let me give you a scoop… Russell Wilson is the starting QB1 for The Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024, barring injury… which is the primary reason Justin will need work and repetition…

The secondary reason is because Justin is the future QB1 for The Pittsburgh Steelers beyond 2025…

AllenFant
AllenFant
June 11, 2024 3:51 pm

I agree. I am hoping that the Steelers will have plays/situations designed especially for Justin Fields – and Darnell Washington.. We definitely should keep Justin active and game ready. We should also use Darnell Washington’s height and size in the Red Zone. If our young offensive line plays up to potential – ” the sky is the limit ” for our offense. Barring any serious injury to our starters, I believe that we will finally make not back to the Super Bowl. n There is tons off talent on this team and a good mix of veterans and very promising… Read more »

JimmyHands
JimmyHands
June 12, 2024 1:39 am

Russell Wilson is the starter because he is the better quarterback right now. And he probably will be all year. People forget just last year and the last half the season he went five /six And beating Kansas City and Mahomes in Kansas City. He would’ve had two more wins if he wasn’t benched because of his contract, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes him into the playoffs and even the Super Bowl with this offensive line that he has around him it’s the best he’s ever played behind