Tim Benz: Steelers fans change their tune to Mitch Trubisky with Kenny Pickett on the sidelines

When it comes to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s play—and its fanbase analysis—I wish I had some truth serum.

And a time machine. Who has one like that?

Because I’d love to see how many Steelers fans and media types calling for Trubisky to be benched were also fervent supporters of his March signing.

For those who were in favor of signing Trubisky, have you only changed your mind about Trubisky’s shelf life and what his ceiling is because the Steelers chose Kenny Pickett?

I get moving the goalposts on its shelf life, given that a 24-year-old first-round Heisman Trophy candidate has been added to the mix. But if you suddenly change your mind about how good Trubisky can be or the wisdom of signing him six months ago, that’s intellectually inconsistent.

Since I have neither the ability to time-hop nor a gallon-sized jar of sodium pentothal, I will probably have to rely on your honesty and personal introspection on this subject.

Do not worry. I don’t expect much.

But it would be nice if Steelers fans could really do a self-analysis regarding their thoughts on Trubisky pre-Pickett and their view of him now that Pickett is his backup.


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Because, to underscore a point raised this week by former Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, if nothing else, doing so may help dispel some of the heat on Trubisky as he makes his way through the early stages of navigating his new attack. At the very least, it might make you think twice about the chorus of “Kenny, Kenny” chants at the next home game at Acrisure Stadium.

“I haven’t heard that, but I’ve got a lot going on,” Tomlin said of Sunday’s chants for Pickett.

Trust us, coach. That happened. Even your former quarterback talked about it on his podcast.

You can expect the Tomlin and Steelers coaching staff to be much more patient with their decision making than what you might hear in the 500 level at Acrisure Stadium or on some sports talk shows.

“I enjoyed (Trubisky) a lot, to be honest. I think he did a good job doing the things that come with the position,” Tomlin said of Trubisky on Monday. “The intangible things, the leadership things, the communication things, detailing and communicating the violation, working hard to carry out our agenda, the things we want to work on.”

To be fair to fans and media members clamoring for Trubisky’s benching, it certainly makes more sense now that Pickett will be the one to take his place as opposed to Mason Rudolph. What doesn’t make sense — after just two weeks of regular season action — is an attempt to erase every argument some of those same folks made in support of signing Trubisky in the first place.

Believe me. I’ve heard them all. Because when Trubisky was signed, I didn’t rush into the decision. So I took it on the chin of Steelers fans far and wide for failing to sign along the way and daring to voice opposing views.

‘Why aren’t you on board? Can’t you see that Trubisky is a perfect fit for Matt Canada’s offense? Trubisky was ruined by Matt Nagy and all those stupid coaches in Chicago! He learned a lot in Buffalo as a backup to Josh Allen, so he will be much better in Pittsburgh!”

OKAY. Where’s all that love for Trubisky now?

I understand why having Pickett on board makes it easier to request Trubisky’s benching than it would have been if Rudolph were the next best option.

But those who do — after announcing Trubisky’s signing just six months (and two regular games) ago — would have to admit they talked themselves into a line of baloney about how confident they were that Trubisky was a worthy successor to Ben Roethlisberger. , simply because he was the best option at the time.

Let’s be honest. Even the most radiant Trubisky optimist in March probably didn’t expect his game to be perfect after just two weeks. Not to mention that those two games came against the defending AFC champion Bengals in Cincinnati and a defense of Bill Belichick Patriots in Week 2.

If I were to use time machine theory again, if I had come back from the future and ended up back in Pittsburgh for design at some point and told everyone who was on “Team Trubisky” that the Steelers would play those first two games split, I bet all they would have signed in blood for that.

Despite knowing how much the offense struggled.

But now that Pickett has traded blue and gold for black and gold, the standard of public expectation for Trubisky has changed.

Even if the player doesn’t have it himself.

According to Roethlisberger, that’s a bit unfair.

And as far as I’m concerned, it’s incredibly unfair.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise noted.

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