Rounding Up Steelers' Rumors, Buzz After 2022 Training Camp

Joe TanseyJuly 27, 2022

Rounding Up Steelers' Rumors, Buzz After 2022 Training Camp

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    Pittsburgh Steelers training camp will be all about the quarterback battle.

    Kenny Pickett was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft to be the team's quarterback for the long-term future.

    However, Pickett will not just be handed the starting gig by Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff. Mitchell Trubisky will have a say in who the Week 1 starter will be and the former Chicago Bears starter could take a majority of the first-team snaps.

    All eyes will be on the Trubisky-Pickett battle every time the two players step foot on the practice field as the Steelers find the replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.

    The Steelers are dealing with other issues across their roster, including injuries to some players, but if you mention the team's training camp, you better be ready to discuss the most important position on the field.

Mitchell Trubisky, Kenny Pickett in True Quarterback Battle

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    The Steelers have not named a starting quarterback for the 2022 NFL season.

    In their defense, why would they when they have a full month to evaluate what Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett can do in the first-team offense.

    As of now, Trubisky appears to have the edge to be the team's Week 1 starter. The Athletic's Mark Kaboly noted that Trubisky earned most of the first-team snaps during spring workouts.

    "All indications throughout the spring suggested free-agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky — the No. 2 pick in 2017 — will be the Week 1 starter in Cincinnati, and those indications have produced mixed emotions around the Steelers’ fan base. If Trubisky didn’t take every single first-team rep over the month of OTAs and minicamp, it was darn close. The same goes with Pickett and third-team reps," Kaboly wrote.

    Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News outlined one potential scenario in how the quarterback situation could play out in training camp, and in the regular season.

    "Should Trubisky's camp work be more about not losing the job instead of win it pulling away, that will open the gates for Pickett. The Steelers should be looking for the right balance of efficiency and big-play quotient. Pickett may need more time than camp and preseason to get that trust level vs. Trubisky. History says the Steelers will keep QB open for a quick in-season change. Pickett needs to be ready soon because Trubisky is bound to falter based on his past habits," Iyer wrote.

    Trubisky owns four years of starting experience from his time with the Chicago Bears, but he only threw for more than 20 touchdowns in one of those campaigns.

    Trubisky lost his job in Chicago after the old regime in power opted to go in a different direction with Justin Fields. He spent last season as Josh Allen's backup in Buffalo.

    Pittsburgh may be inclined to put a veteran quarterback on the field in Week 1, but Trubisky does not have a long track of success. To be honest, he does not even have a short-term run of success as a starter.

    The Steelers could choose to accelerate their future by starting Pickett early in the season, but that may affect their status as a perennial playoff contender.

    Mike Tomlin and his staff have to balance the long-term development of Pickett with keeping up the franchise's long-standing high standard of excellence. If they can strike the right balance with Pickett, the 2022 season will be viewed as a success, but there is no time set for the rookie to take the field yet.

Minkah Fitzpatrick to Miss Early Part of Training Camp

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    Minkah Fitzpatrick will not be on the field for the first few training camp practices.

    Fitzpatrick suffered a wrist injury, which is being called not serious by the team after he fell off a bike.

    Mike Tomlin provided some insight on how the injury will affect the safety, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    “It will create some short-term discomfort, but I don’t expect it to be an issue in the overall trajectory of his development and his place in this group,” Tomlin said of Fitzpatrick’s injury. “It will just create some discomfort for him in the early stages of this.”

    Pittsburgh is approaching the Fitzpatrick with caution, as it should at the start of training camp. Fitzpatrick has nothing to prove in camp and will get as many reps as he needs in the latter weeks of practices.

    If anything, the Fitzpatrick injury could be viewed as a small positive because the Steelers will get a chance to run other players through some first-team reps at safety.

    Damontae Kazee would be the favorite to earn more snaps. He was signed to provide more secondary depth in the offseason. Pittsburgh could also give some rookies or fringe players some time with the first-team defense to test their quality while Fitzpatrick heals up.

Steelers Looking to Fill Void Left by Stephon Tuitt's Retirement

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    The Steelers could task a familiar face from within the AFC North to help replace the retired Stephon Tuitt.

    Larry Ogunjobi was signed late in the offseason to provide more depth and competition on the defensive interior.

    Ogunjobi spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns and he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021. Ogunjobi was part of the Mason Rudolph-Myles Garrett confrontation in 2019. He picked up a one-game suspension for his role in the fracas.

    Ogunjobi said he cleared the air with Rudolph before the Steelers arrived at training camp, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor.

    "I feel like it is what it is. He reached out, we talked to each other. It was over the day it happened. To me, at least, the only way I can move is forward," Ogunjobi said.

    The defensive tackle comes to Pittsburgh off a season in which he recorded a career-high in sacks with seven. He did not sign until June because he failed a physical with the Chicago Bears in March. He suffered a foot injury while with the Bengals last season.

    The Steelers are looking to fill the void left by Stephon Tuitt, who retired in the offseason after he missed the 2021 campaign. Tuitt made 11 sacks and had 10 tackles for loss in his last season with the franchise in 2020.

    Ogunjobi is one of the candidates to take that spot in the starting lineup, and if he excels in camp, he could give the Steelers one of the toughest defensive fronts in the NFL.

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