Kenny Pickett, or whoever is Steelers’ QB, faces tough task

With the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers have an open quarterback competition on their hands.

It will be interesting to see which player – Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky or Mason Rudolph – wins the starting job. But whoever does, he’ll be thrown into the fire immediately in the 2022 season.

The Steelers’ season begins on the road at Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati. They travel to Cleveland in Week 3, Buffalo in Week 5 and then host Tampa Bay in Week 6.

A special date to circle on the schedule is Saturday, Dec. 24 versus Las Vegas. The Steelers will host the Raiders at Heinz Field one day after Franco Harris ’50th anniversary’ touchdown, “The Immaculate Reception.”

It will be interesting to see who ends up under center when the Steelers take on their daunting schedule.

Pickett, the first-round pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, is not your everyday rookie. He is being reunited with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who recruited him to Pitt.

“I have a pretty good background with the offense,” Pickett said Friday morning during his press conference. “Coach Canada recruited me to Pitt right next door and we kind of kept some of the same formations, so I thought the walkthrough today went well.”

Trubisky signed as a free agent in the offseason. He had a turbulent start to his career in Chicago and hasn’t fully proven himself in the NFL. He spent four seasons with the Bears and had a good second season before things turned for the worse in his third and fourth years.

Trubisky spent last season as the back-up to Josh Allen in Buffalo and saw action in six games. He hasn’t really played significant minutes since 2020, and that could hinder his shot at being the Week 1 starter.

And then there is Rudolph. Of the three quarterbacks in the competition, he is the longest-tenured Steeler, but that does not necessarily help him in this situation.

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Rudolph had his fair share of opportunities as the starter. He took over in Week 2 of 2019 when Roethlisberger was injured, and again in 2021 when Big Ben tested positive for COVID-19.

Overall, he is 5-4-1 as a starter with the Steelers.

The argument can be made that any of the three QBs can win the job. But, regardless of who starts Week 1, poor guy.

It will be an uphill battle for whoever is under center for the Steelers, but perhaps tough competition between the trio of signal-callers will make them better.

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