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Mitch Trubisky Earns ‘Long Leash’ from Mike Tomlin

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Mitch Trubisky will enjoy every opportunity to prove himself worthy of the Steelers’ starting quarterback designation.

With rookie first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett sitting at No. 2 on the depth chart, many believe Trubisky’s first major mistake could be his last. The Steelers must be excited to push Pickett into action, right?

He is the future, right?

No … and yes.

Break it down, Ian Rapoport.

“Mike Tomlin does not want Mitch Trubisky looking over his shoulder, going three and out and going, ‘OK, wow, is Kenny Pickett coming in now?'” veteran reporter Ian Rapoport said Sunday on NFL Gameday. “It’s not like that. He came in as QB1. He has exceeded expectations in an offense that fits him.”

In three preseason games with the Steelers, Trubisky completed 24 of 34 passing attempts (71%), racking up 283 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the process.

He showcased some mobility –– an especially appealing quality to Tomlin and the staff –– and poise in the process, too. Add in his veteran leadership, and the “long leash” sentiment described by Rapoport makes sense for the team moving forward.

“And the players are feeling it, too,” Rapoport said. “In the locker room, he is the captain, and they clearly believe he is the starting quarterback as well.”

Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson certainly agrees on that front.

“They said (Trubisky) was the starter in training camp,” Johnson told media Wednesday at the Rooney Complex. “But I guess they didn’t really mention it to y’all…”

All this said, the team does still believe strongly in Pickett and his ability.

It’s just more of a future belief than a present one.

“Of course, Kenny Pickett, the rookie, has impressed –– probably even more so than they believed,” Rapoport added. “It is going to be his team eventually, but for now, Mitch Trubisky, the starting quarterback getting a long look at it.”

The Steelers take on the Bengals Sunday at 1 p.m. in Cincinnati to kick off their 2022 NFL season.

Trubisky gets the start under center. And barring injury, it seems fans shouldn’t hold their breath if they’re hoping to see Pickett in live, regular-season action.

This is Trubisky’s team –– for now.

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