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Merril Hoge on Mitch Trubisky’s Struggles: ‘That’s Who He Is’

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Mitch Trubisky needs to improve as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback –– but former player Merril Hoge isn’t sure he can or will.

Hoge, who played for the Steelers from 1987-1993 before finishing his career with the Bears in 1994, recently joined Ben Roethlisberger on the Footbahlin podcast, where they discussed Trubisky’s early struggles and much more.

Through two games, Trubisky is 1-1, averaging 181 passing yards per game and completing 59.2 percent of his passes. He’s thrown two touchdowns and one interception in the black and gold.

The numbers aren’t great.

And Hoge isn’t surprised.

“I’ve studied Mitch Trubisky since he came out of college,” Hoge said on the podcast. “When he came out of college, there was a couple things that he struggled with… He was very inconsistent with his throws. Like, what you saw today [Sunday against the Patriots]: He missed [Claypool downfield]. That’s how he was in college.

“Like, you would watch him in college, and you’d just go, ‘Wow.’ He’d make some throws –– OK, the touchdown that he threw [to Pat Freiermuth] and the two-point conversion [to Diontae Johnson]? Freaking great throws. Great throws. You could never see him be consistent, especially in critical situations, which is really [what] it all came down to.”

Hoge didn’t end there. He remembered a specific sequence that, to him, perfectly captured Trubisky.

“I remember I was watching the South Carolina game,” Hoge continued. “I’m like eight games into watching him. And I’m always on the fence with him because he would make a great throw and then he would miss something that you just can’t miss. They were playing South Carolina, they were around South Carolina’s 45-yard line. They’re down by four. It’s 3rd-and-5. This is your money down. Their slot wide receiver –– actually gets drafted in the third round, he was a very good wide receiver –– he absolutely smokes the defender, and Mitchell Trubsiky hits the third-down sign. He didn’t even keep it in the ballpark for him. And they have to punt. They lose the game.

“I was like, ‘OK, at the end of the day, that’s who he is.’ He’ll make some things for you, and you can see the upside if he did that all the time. So my point is –– that’s why they drove him out of Chicago. The last time he played against Minnesota, his red-zone performance was one of the worst I’ve ever seen in the NFL in recent memory, just missing people, making bad throws with a chance to win the game.”

While Hoge’s memory may not be perfect (Trubisky never played South Carolina in college and the slot receiver, Ryan Switzer, was drafted in the fourth round) his point does carry some validity. Trubisky hasn’t made plays for the Steelers, and he is a former No. 2 overall pick who is already on his third NFL team since 2017.

While Hoge acknowledged “there’s a chance for a reboot” in Trubisky’s game, he’s certainly not holding his breath.

“I think more evidence speaks to who he is,” Hoge said. “Just accept that. But you’re not going to win championships with that inconsistency –– at that position, anyway. [You] just can’t. I don’t care. That’s just the facts. You’re not going to.”

Listen to Hoge’s full conversation with Roethlisberger here: 

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Don S
Don S
September 21, 2022 10:56 am

Sounds like a description of Mason Rudolph to me.

Evan
Evan
September 22, 2022 5:48 pm

Mitch may be limited, but Canada certainly isn’t doing him any favors. His game plan and play calling have been putrid. He could have Joe Montana, John Elway, Brett Favre, Mike Vick, any style & ability and this offense would be failing right now. I’m not comparing Mitch to those guys, but he’s not as bad as this offense is playing. I don’t want Pickett in there right now because he will also fail at this point and we don’t need that. Get him a new coordinator for next season.

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