After taking a few extra days to announce the decision, the Steelers will officially start Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday against the Panthers.
Depending on how it starts, things can be short-lived.
Sources say while Pittsburgh moves forward with Trubisky, who started today at Carolina, he will have a short streak. Mason Rudolph, a veteran who has been the third tackle all year, saw increased reps in practice this week.
The plan was to have both players ready to play while allowing them to compete a little during late-season practices. With rookie Kenny Pickett in the NFL’s concussion protocol and ruled out, it was an opportunity to give the two backup pass rushers more reps for the first time in a while.
Trubisky got the starting nod despite throwing three interceptions last week in relief of Pickett. Outside of those passes, however, Trubisky played well and moved the ball. But if he turns it around against Carolina, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin won’t hesitate to turn things over to Rudolph.
Interestingly, some of the team’s receivers have come out in support of Rudolph.
“Yeah, I want to see him play,” starting tight end Deonta Johnson said Thursday, according to ESPN.com. “I know he’s ready to play. I know it’s probably on his mind, like. “Dang, when am I going to get my chance?” I feel like this week is for her. I know he’ll do everything he can to get ready this week, get ready for Sunday.”
Rudolph has yet to play this season, but he has started 10 games over three seasons as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Time will tell if Rudolph gets another chance today, albeit in relief.