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Bill Cowher: Steelers Could Have Trouble Managing Three-QB Battle

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Steelers QB OTAs Trubisky Rudolph Pickett

Bill Cowher has experience at running a three-quarterback competition and thinks it’ll be difficult for the Steelers to pull it off at training camp this summer.

The Steelers left minicamp with Mitch Trubisky as the No. 1 quarterback, Mason Rudolph working with the second team and Kenny Pickett with the third squad. But all three are expected to be in competition this summer.

Cowher said that it’s hard to split reps three ways at the quarterback position, though. Even with a 90-man offseason roster, most teams don’t have three full squads of offense and defense run through team drills. It’ll be some reps with the first team, some reps with the second team, and then a couple reps that might be left over.

He related an experience from the 1996 season, when the Steelers were trying to replace Neil O’Donnell at quarterback. The Steelers tried a three-way competition with former backups Jim Miller and Mike Tomczak and young potential star Kordell Stewart. It didn’t work out that well.

“We had three quarterbacks and I just remember at that time, I said, ‘Okay, we’ll try to split it up,’” Cowher said on Miller’s Movin’ the Chains Podcast on Sirius XM Radio. “At a very early time in that process, I asked Kordell to go to receiver because it was just too hard to get three quarterbacks enough reps to really legitimize, to make a very true, evaluation. So, I think that’s going to be the toughest thing for them to do.”

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t really have the option of moving a player to wide receiver, so it could be that that the two quarterbacks that emerge ahead at the beginning of the process get an advantage.

Cowher said he likes the things that veteran former starter Mitch Trubisky brings to the table in that regard.

“I do like Mitch Trubisky,” Cowher said. “He’s athletic, he can get on the perimeter. I think a lot of the things Ben [Roethlisberger] did early in his career and was not doing late in his career, they have that now in that backfield.”

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