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NFL Insider: Justin Fields Will ‘Get Every Opportunity’ To Win Steelers QB Job

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One of the (potentially) most interesting matchups of the 2024 NFL season is the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos. We all know why: The Steelers signed former Denver Broncos starting QB Russell Wilson. According to Adam Rank of NFL.com, the league scheduling the Steelers and Broncos to open the season on Monday Night Football “could be the funniest thing ever.”

There is only one small problem with that idea. What if Wilson isn’t the starter? NFL Network insider James Palmer joined the DNVR Broncos Podcast on Wednesday’s episode and was asked about the possible matchup on MNF. He acknowledged that Wilson will be QB1 in offseason practices and even training camp as the starter, but he thinks Justin Fields will be the starter once the season starts.

“Everything Russ has done in this league, let’s be honest, he does deserve that,” Palmer said. “But my understanding is Justin is going to get every opportunity to win that job. And if you think Mike Tomlin is not going to play who he thinks, being out on that field he watches win that job, you don’t know Mike Tomlin.”

Tomlin proved in 2023 that he will always prioritize the team over a specific player. QB Mason Rudolph was asked to step in with Kenny Pickett sidelined due to injury, Mitch Trubisky failing, and the season on the verge of collapse. Rudolph responded by leading the Steelers to a 34-11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in his first start since 2021 in Week 16. That kick-started a three-game winning streak to close out the season, which put the Steelers in position to sneak into the playoffs.

Where Tomlin prioritized team over player was when Pickett was healthy again. After the Bengals game, the Steelers traveled to Seattle to play the Seahawks. Rudolph got the start and led the team to another win. However, Pickett was cleared to play yet didn’t even dress. Head coach Mike Tomlin played it off as Pickett simply wasn’t ready due to being cleared late in the week and that he hadn’t gotten get sufficient practice reps.

Whether that’s accurate or not is up to debate. There are those who reported that Pickett was asked to prepare as the emergency third quarterback and he refused, which in turn Pickett denied. Regardless of the full story, Tomlin put winning that game and keeping the Steelers’ playoff hopes alive above putting Pickett back in. That trend continued for the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens and even the playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.

What Palmer said about Fields getting every opportunity is also interesting. Tomlin came out earlier in the offseason and affirmed that Wilson would be starting the offseason as QB1, and when it was “appropriate”, Fields would compete with the nine-time Pro Bowler. Palmer seems to be saying that competition will come early and often.

If that’s true, then we might not get a chance at a phenomenal revenge scenario for Wilson. But Tomlin will play whom he thinks will give the team the best chance to win. He proved that at the end of the 2023 season.



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