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

When it comes to the play of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky — and the analysis of it from the fanbase — I wish I had some truth serum.

And a time machine. Who has one of those lying around?

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

For those who were in favor of signing Trubisky, have you only changed your minds on what Trubisky’s shelf life should be and what his ceiling is because the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett?

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

Since I possess neither the ability to time-hop nor a gallon-sized jug of sodium pentothal, I suppose I’m just going to have to rely on your honesty and personal introspection on this topic.

Don’t worry. I’m not expecting much.

But it would be nice if Steelers fans were genuinely able to do some self-analysis as it relates to their thoughts about Trubisky pre-Pickett and their view of him now that Pickett is his backup.


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Because, to underscore a point advanced by former Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger this week, if nothing else, by doing so perhaps some of the heat on Trubisky can dissipate as he finds his way through the early stages of navigating his new offense. At least maybe it’ll make you think twice about joining the chorus of “Kenny, Kenny” chants at the next Acrisure Stadium home game.

“I didn’t hear 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 was talking about it on his podcast.

You can expect Tomlin and the 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’ve liked a lot from (Trubisky), to be quite honest with you. I think he’s done a good job of 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 offense, working hard to execute our agenda, the things that we want to work on.”

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

Trust me. I heard them all. Because when Trubisky was signed, I didn’t gushingly endorse the decision. So I took it on the chin from Steelers fans far and wide for failing to cosign on the move and daring to voice an opinion to the contrary.

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

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

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

But those who are doing so — after trumpeting the signing of Trubisky just six months (and two regular games) ago — should admit that they were just talking themselves into a line of baloney over how confident they were that Trubisky was going to be a worthy successor to Ben Roethlisberger, simply because he was the best available option at the time.

Let’s be honest. Even the most glowing Trubisky optimist in March probably wasn’t expecting his play to be polished perfection after just two weeks. To say nothing of the fact that those two games came against the defending AFC champion Bengals in Cincinnati and a Bill Belichick Patriots defense in Week 2.

Using the time machine theory again, if I had come back from the future and landed back in Pittsburgh at some point pre-draft and told anyone who was on “Team Trubisky” that the Steelers would split those first two games, I bet all of them would’ve signed up for that in blood.

Despite knowing how much the offense struggled.

But now that Pickett has traded in Blue and Gold for Black and Gold, the standard of public expectation for Trubisky has changed.

Even though the player himself has not.

To Roethlisberger’s point, that’s a little unfair.

And to my point, it’s incredibly disingenuous.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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