UNITY TWP., Pa — Mitch Trubisky will start Saturday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Tomlin announced on Thursday. In addition, it will be Kenny Pickett who takes the second team reps on Saturday, climbing the depth chart from third last week. On Thursday, Trubisky stated that he wants to get plenty more reps, including more than two drives. However, Tomlin will play that by ear.
“I’ll play it by ear,” Tomlin said. “When I see enough, and when I know I’m there, I’ll see it. That’s just the mentality that I have.”
So, it remains to be seen how much Trubisky will play. However, it is expected that Kenny Pickett will play a good deal of snaps. With him coming in directly after Trubisky, Pickett will have to face more ‘varsity action’. That is exactly the reasoning that Tomlin gave behind moving Pickett up the depth chart. It is less about Mason Rudolph, and more about their familiarity with him over Pickett.
“The main emphasis and mentality in how we structured it this week was that we simply want to see Kenny in more varsity action,” Tomlin said. “We know more about Mason, Mitch has been around the professional game, and so this is a big week for him getting in the first half of this game. And I would imagine that he sees some frontline defenders for Jacksonville.”
It is likely that Pickett will not only see front-line defenders but play with some of the starting offensive linemen. Tomlin noted that it was reasonable to expect Pickett to get playing time with some of the young starting offensive linemen. That likely means players like Dan Moore Jr. and the young players at left guard could play with Pickett for a prolonged period.
“Yes, and again, we give the guys individually what it is that they need,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got some young starters on the offensive line where it’s reasonable to expect them to still be in the game with him.”
Rudolph then will close out the game for the Steelers. While he said on Thursday that he wishes he got more first-team reps throughout training camp, that is not the expectation for Jacksonville. Instead, Pickett may see the longest playing time as the Steelers adjust him to the NFL waters in a live pocket.