We’ve seen many quarterbacks around the league get hurt this season, and some little-known backups get a shot. Teams in the playoff race have had to resort to starting the likes of Jaren Hall (Minnesota Vikings), and most recently, the Cleveland Browns trotted out a 38-year-old Joe Flacco.
And while it’s never a good feeling to see your quarterback go down holding his ankle, the Steelers have one of the better contingency plans in the league. Both Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph have relatively extensive NFL starting experience, with both having started at least a handful of games for the Steelers.
And as we head into a short week, this becomes even more valuable, as both guys, but more importantly the starter Trubisky, can run the offense pretty much as it is currently designed. Mike Tomlin touched on this on the Mike Tomlin Show today.
“We really don’t have any restrictions,” Tomlin noted. “We’re gonna start Mitch, and obviously, we know what Mason’s capable of. But we don’t have any restrictions in terms of our schematics, the way that they run the offense, the way that they communicate with guys. It’s really an asset to have veteran backups and particularly when in circumstances like this, because you’re not reduced schematically in any way.“
While the New England Patriots have been a disaster over the last few weeks, their defense has looked solid. While not the turnover-forcing units of Belichick-old, they’ve done a solid job of preventing the big play and getting off the field on third down. They’ve held each of their last three opponents to 10 points or less. However, this has led them to an 0-3 record over that stretch, and the last team to accomplish that “feat” wore leather helmets (1938 Chicago Cardinals). Still, the defense poses a challenge, and the risk with these low-scoring games is that one big play from a sputtering Patriots offense could be the difference. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Kenny Pickett is looking like he could miss the next four games, and with only five left to go, that could mean that a lot of the playoff push is in the hands of Trubisky. As it stands, the Steelers are right around a 50/50 bet to make the playoffs. A potentially massive Week 18 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens looms, and hopefully, Pickett can be back for that, but it’s up to Trubisky to make that game meaningful for the Steelers.