It took less than three quarters into the Pittsburgh Steelers home opener. The fans started chanting for rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett.
There will be no patience in Pittsburgh for Mitchell Trubisky. The fanbase only knows him from a failed time with the Chicago Bears and a cheap contract this past offseason as the Steelers were figuring out what to do at quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired.
Pickett is the new and exciting option, and the fact that he played at Pitt makes it even tougher for Steelers fans to wait. That's why the chants weren't surprising, even if they came so early in the season.
“It is what it is,” Trubisky said about the Pickett chants, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You just block it out and continue to play football.”
Maybe it's better for Trubisky to play on the road this week. The Steelers travel to face the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night on Amazon Prime in a game between two teams that are challenged on offense.
If the Steelers struggle to score again, those chants will get even louder during their next home game.
When will Kenny Pickett play?
Mike Tomlin doesn't seem to care much about the pressure to play the first-round pick at quarterback.
Before the season, it was leaked to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer that Tomlin's plan was to sit Pickett all season. That would be exceptionally rare. Since Aaron Rodgers' draft year in 2005, only two first-round quarterbacks haven't started at least one game as a rookie. The list is Brady Quinn and Jake Locker. Everyone else started at least once.
Tomlin might not want to make a change, but he might be forced into it. Trubisky has 362 yards and a 76.1 passer rating. The Steelers don't have a good offensive line, but they do have good skill position players. The Steelers won't be able to continue too long with Trubisky if he's not even getting close to 200 yards per game. Last week the Steelers didn't move the ball much in a 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots, and frustration grew.
Maybe Tomlin is right and Pickett isn't ready yet. At some point, it doesn't matter. First-round picks don't sit. Trubisky's reputation as a player, not doing enough after the Bears drafted him second overall, doesn't help him. Steelers fans are already putting pressure on Tomlin to make a change. Trubisky knows that he must start playing better, and it needs to happen soon.
Browns have offensive issues too
The good news for Trubisky is he probably won't be overshadowed by the other quarterback on Thursday night.
The Browns also have their offensive issues, though Jacoby Brissett had a solid game against the New York Jets last week. That was overshadowed when the Browns somehow blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes.
Cleveland is waiting on Deshaun Watson, who is serving an 11-game suspension. Until then, the offense will be limited. The Browns will build around running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt for most of this season, and Brissett will be asked to do his part. That means they'll play some ugly, low-scoring games before Watson comes back. They'll be fine with that as long as they win some and stay in the playoff race.
Brissett doesn't have much pressure when it comes to losing his job. The Browns don't have another viable option. And everyone knows Brissett will go back to the bench when Watson returns. Trubisky isn't in that situation. That adds an extra layer of drama to Thursday night's game.