Mitch Trubisky Has the Skills Steelers Had to Have in Ben’s Successor
It was never about who the next quarterback would be. It was always about how the next quarterback would play.
They got the guy.
That it turned out to be Mitch Trubisky wasn’t a coincidence, but Trubisky signing on with the Steelers is more about fit than name recognition.
They’ve been after a certain style of player much more than a brand name in seeking Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement.
The Steelers had been up front about that all along.
Mike Tomlin had started talking about quarterback mobility after the bye week in late October, and he kept talking about it after the playoff disaster in Kansas City.
“Quarterback mobility is valued, not only by me but by everyone,” Tomlin had emphasized back in January. “It’s just a component of today’s game.”
Soon after that, Steelers president Art Rooney II echoed Tomlin’s sentiment.
“Certainly, mobile quarterbacks are the wave of the future, so to speak,” Rooney acknowledged. “Having mobility at that position is something that would be desirable, let’s put it that way.
“But the other thing just as desirable is somebody that can read a defense and complete a pass downfield.”
In Trubisky, they’ve found both.
That the anticipated bidding war for Trubisky in a quarterback-starved league never materialized turned out to be a bonus for the Steelers.
They got the guy, and on a team-friendly contract.
They’ve also gotten, perhaps, a quarterback whose best football might be in front of him.
His first season with the Steelers will be his sixth in the NFL, so Trubisky also fits the Steelers’ free agent profile of a player on the rise.
It’s hard to call Trubisky that, technically, because he arrives after spending a season backing up Josh Allen in Buffalo.
But prior to that Trubisky was the starter in Chicago for parts of four years after the Bears had made him the second-overall pick of the 2017 draft.
History has since revealed taking Trubisky or any other quarterback ahead of Patrick Mahomes (10th overall that year) and Deshaun Watson (12th) was a miscalculation.
But so, too, was the way the Bears asked Trubisky to play the game.
“He’s a pretty good athlete that has good speed and I think he uses it to his best ability,” offered Jim Miller, a former quarterback for the Steelers and the Bears and a current Bears postgame analyst on Fox 32 in Chicago and a co-host on Sirius/XM’s NFL Channel. “At times he could have utilized it even more, but he was forcing himself to throw from the pocket.
“The Bears were trying to make him a pocket passer, and at times he just needs to be who he is.”
He’ll be able to be that in Pittsburgh.
And the Steelers will be able to move that statue of Roethlisberger from the shotgun formation behind center to just outside of Heinz Field where it belongs (next to Art Rooney Sr. is as good a spot as any).
Trubisky also comes to the Steelers reinvigorated.
After four years of instability in Chicago, after four seasons of enduring coaching changes, coordinator changes, changes in who was calling the plays, after four campaigns of unrelenting pressure based on who he wasn’t relative to who was drafted after him, Trubisky had a chance to at long last exhale last season as Buffalo’s backup.
“He’s had a year to just sit behind Josh Allen so he should be 100-percent completely healthy,” Miller added. “And I would think mentally he’s healthy, too.”
Ready to compete again, in other words.
That’s a dynamic of the Trubisky transaction that ought not to be underrated.
After all, clear eyes and full hearts can’t lose.
There were other options that would have likewise checked the required boxes, with varying resumes and price tags to match.
The Steelers didn’t get the most accomplished or the most expensive of those.
But they got one of them.