Mitchell Trubisky earned a significant title in the days leading up to the Steelers‘ season-opener against the Bengals. Trubisky was named as one of the Steelers’ offensive captains along with second-year running back Najee Harris. Defensive captains are T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward, while Miles Killebrew is the special teams representative.
Trubisky has clearly developed as a leader during his short time in Pittsburgh. He has also maintained his position as the Steelers’ top quarterback despite this summer’s emergence of rookie Kenny Pickett. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has yet to publicly announce a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Bengals, but Trubisky was penciled in as the Steelers’ No. 1 quarterback on Pittsburgh’s first depth chart of the regular season, which was issued on Monday.
“Mitch has grown a lot,” Harris said of Trubisky during the final week of training camp. “He’s got a good feel for everybody. … He’s a competitor, I’ll tell you that. … But that’s what you want in a quarterback. You want a competitor and that’s what he is.”
Trubisky said on Monday that it was a tremendous honor to be one of the Steelers’ captains (h/t Ray Fittipaldo of Post-Gazette). He did not, however, tip his hand as to whether or not he has officially been given the starting job.
“You can assume anything you want,” a smiling Trubisky said when asked if he will start against the Bengals, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “The announcement will come out when it comes out, but you’re not going to hear it from me. We’re just going about our business.”
Trubisky made his case to be the Steelers’ starting quarterback during Pittsburgh’s preseason finale last Sunday against the Lions. After settling for field goals to start the game, Trubisky led the offense on a six-play, 92-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Steven Sims just before halftime. The drive also included a 32-yard completion to tight end Pat Freiermuth and a 22-yard completion to rookie receiver George Pickens. Trubisky’s first half also included a nifty 38-yard completion to Diontae Johnson that set up a field goal.
“I think it was important to establish a rhythm and score points,” Trubisky said of the two-minute drive. “We wanted to come away with more touchdowns early on, but we settled for field goals, so we’ll look back and get better at that. But I think to finish with a touchdown was important. … It was good to go out there and and get a half in. I felt like we got more of a rhythm.”
Trubisky’s tangibles and intangibles have clearly made a positive impact on Pittsburgh’s players and coaching staff. He’s also made an impression on former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who recently said that Trubisky should start over Pickett, at least for the time being.
“I would say this about almost all rookie quarterbacks, it benefits you to sit behind a veteran for a little bit of time,” Roethlisberger said on his new podcast. “And I think Mitch is a great leader, a great football player, he’s a great athlete, he’s a good quarterback. They brought him in here for a reason, and I think he’s going to mentor Kenny and I think he’ll really help Kenny a lot. But in my opinion, it should be Mitch’s job for the time being. If Mitch plays well, keep him in there. And even if Mitch has a bad game or something, it doesn’t mean [to] just yank him.”