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Ben Roethlisberger: Mitchell Trubisky Should Start for Steelers over Kenny Pickett

Erin WalshSeptember 5, 2022

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has endorsed Mitchell Trubisky as the franchise's starting quarterback in 2022.

In the first episode of his new podcast titled Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger, the two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowler explained why he believes Trubisky should be the team's starter.

Roethlisberger said, as transcribed by Brandon Wallace of SteelerNation.com:

“I think a rookie, like for us, Kenny Pickett, right? He got drafted first round out of Pitt. I thought he’s had a great preseason. I thought he’s played really well. I think it’s for guys like him especially, that it’d be good [the preseason]. In my opinion, I think Mitchell Trubisky is the starter. He should start. I think he’s a veteran, he’s been around for awhile. He gives you, in my opinion, the best chance to win right now. But I think Kenny has done a great job.”

Roethlisberger added:

“You watch him, from what I’ve seen in the preseason, you wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, man he’s a rookie, he’s got some learning curves.’ He’s going to, because when the regular season picks up, it gets faster, but I think he’s done a great job. I think though it would benefit him, and I would say this about almost all rookie quarterbacks, it benefits you to sit behind a veteran for a little bit of time.”

Roethlisberger continued to say that the Steelers brought in Trubisky "for a reason" and that he should serve as a mentor to Pickett during his rookie year. He added that even if Trubisky has a rough start, the franchise should be patient.

“People are so excited for Kenny, which they should be. I mean, he’s a Pitt kid, he played at Pitt, and so they’re [Steeler Nation] super excited for him, but I just hope the fans don’t like, the first time that Mitch doesn’t play well, they don’t start booing or yank him or do something like that, because listen, it’s going to happen. Give the guy a chance to keep going at whatever. So, it’ll be interesting to see.”

The Steelers signed Trubisky to a two-year, $14.3 million deal in March, essentially making him their starting quarterback. When the team selected Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, questions arose about his starting status and whether or not the franchise would turn to the rookie as QB1.

However, ESPN's Dianna Russini reported late last month that, despite Pickett's strong preseason play, Pittsburgh's starting job was Trubisky's to lose. He has served as the team's starting quarterback throughout OTAs, mandatory minicamp and training camp, in addition to being the team's QB1 in all three of its preseason games.

The 28-year-old spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago Bears, which selected him second overall in the 2017 draft, showing flashes of his potential despite inconsistency.

Trubisky's best season in Chicago came in 2018 when he earned a Pro Bowl selection after going 11-3 in 14 starts and completing 66.6 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 421 yards and three scores.

The Bears went on to decline Trubisky's fifth-year option, and he spent the 2021 campaign with the Buffalo Bills as Josh Allen's backup. In six appearances for the franchise, he completed 6-of-8 passes for 75 yards and one interception, in addition to rushing for 24 yards and a score.

Considering Trubisky's level of experience, it's no surprise Roethlisberger believes head coach Mike Tomlin should stick with the veteran as QB1. After all, he wants to see his former team win as many games as possible in 2022, and Pickett will surely get his chance in the near future.

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