Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s been in charge of the Steelers for 15 seasons and he has never once finished below .500.
He’s been in the playoffs 10 times, he’s coached in the Super Bowl twice, and he was a Super Bowl champion in just his second season in Pittsburgh. This year he will pass Joe Gibbs and Bud Grant on the all-time wins list, and they are both in the Hall of Fame.
He’s good. He’s very good. But even the very good make mistakes, which he did this week by naming Mitchell Trubisky as the Steelers starting quarterback.
The Emotional Case for Kenny Pickett
As the head coach, Mike Tomlin’s job is to win games. Someone else is responsible for putting fans in the stands and keeping them engaged in the team. But that is only the black-and-white requirements of his job. In reality his decisions directly impact all facets of the Steelers organization and fan base – a fan base desperate to see Kenny Pickett as the starting quarterback.
Some honest talk for Mike Tomlin. You’re not winning the division this year, and it would be very unlikely for you to squeeze into the playoffs like last year. The decisions you make in September should have less to do with who gives you a chance against Cincinnati, and more about the long-term growth of your future quarterback.
For an offense that had grown stale the last couple of years, starting a beloved rookie will give it a needed shot of adrenaline.
The Statistical Case for Kenny Pickett
But let’s say Mike Tomlin is only choosing a quarterback based only on what is best for the team this Sunday. That too should be Pickett. Or more specifically, it isn’t Mitchell Trubisky.
We have no history of Pickett to go on, other than his excellent preseason. But we do have history regarding Trubisky, and it isn’t good.
In 2019, when Trubisky started 15 games for the Bears, Chicago finished that season ranked 21st in Real Quarterback Rating and 32nd in Real Passing Yds/Attempt. These are stats compiled by Cold, Hard Football Facts, and they are the two best at measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of a quarterback.
By the way, that 32nd ranking in 2019 for Real Passing Yds/Attempt trailed the Jets with Sam Darnold, the Panthers with Kyle Allen, and the Steelers, who were forced to start both Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger.
Mike Tomlin, with Rudolph and Hodges, saw better quarterback play than what Chicago got from Trubisky.
In 2020 the Bears got nine starts from Trubisky and it wasn’t any better. They were 24th in Real Quarterback Rating and 25th in Real Passing Yds/Attempt, which trailed the Cowboys with Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert, and Ben DiNucci, and the Patriots with Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer.
Coach Mike Tomlin, what are you doing? The world needs less starts from Trubisky, not more. We need Kenny Pickett.