The Pittsburgh Steelers reported to training camp in Latrobe on Tuesday afternoon. Of course, the questions about the quarterback competition have already started pouring in for Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin.
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Tomlin spoke with the media yesterday following players arrivals at Saint Vincent College. Tomlin was asked if the QB depth chart will remain the same to begin training camp, meaning first round rookie QB Kenny Pickett taking 3rd string reps, while Mason Rudolph takes 2nd team reps, and Mitch Trubisky as the Steelers current QB1.
“And I’ll say this because I understand that’s the elephant in the room, we’re not going to micromanage or over-manage this quarterback competition,” Tomlin said during his presser. “The depth chart will not rest on every throw. I know that [the media] will want to ask me every day and every throw, but we’re going to be a little bit more steady than that.”
“I think it’s important from a leadership perspective to not over-manage it, to not be too impulsive. So that’s what I’ve relayed to those guys, and our actions will continue to display that mindset.”
Tomlin was also asked about what he wants to see out of Pickett in his first camp in terms of leadership qualities.
“I’m not overly concerned about that narrative,” Tomlin stated with an emphasis on ‘that.’ “I think when you’re 22, 23, 24 years old, you’ve been playing quarterback all your life, you understand those informal responsibilities that come with the position. I’m more concerned about tangible things, accuracy, taking care of the ball, and things of that nature.”
“I don’t have any level of concern about those things being in his wheelhouse. I watched him do it next door [at Pitt] in terms of leading his guys and being what we need quarterbacks to be. I don’t think that’s going to be a significant discussion.”
Pickett led The University of Pittsburgh to an ACC Championship in his last collegiate season with the team. He knows how to be a leader. Tomlin wants to see NFL accuracy and NFL ball security out of his first rounder in camp. If Pickett can display those things during training camp, he may start moving up the depth chart. After all, it’s the “Steelers Way” for a rookie to earn their stripes. It usually doesn’t bode well for organizations that hand the keys of the franchise to rookie quarterbacks right away.
Pickett is ready to just come in, compete, and let the rest work itself out.
“I mean, just be consistent and play my game every day,” Pickett said as he arrived in Latrobe. “I’m just focused on getting better. [The idea of starting] is a long ways away, coming from where I was in spring and just kind of learning the offense and things like that. So I just want to compete and get better every day.”
Pickett is excited to get things underway in training camp and spent some of his down time, between minicamp and now, preparing the best way he can.
“I spent a lot of time studying and preparing and getting ready,” Pickett said on Tuesday. “It’s a little different, obviously, when you go play. So I just want to get the reps under my belt, and I think every day, just like in the spring, I’ll get better and better and feel more comfortable.”
Check out Tomlin’s press conference in its entirety here!