For most of the offseason, the assumption by most folks — fans and media — has been that Mitch Trubisky will be the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ starting quarterback when the 2022 season gets underway next month.

Trubisky, who signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh earlier this offseason, has the most experience of any quarterback on the Steelers’ roster. And he has a winning record as a starter. It seems like a no-brainer to go with him to start the season.

But could a strong preseason performance from rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, change the Steelers’ mind?

Pickett completed 13-of-15 pass attempts for 95 yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s 32-25 preseason win against the Seattle Seahawks this past weekend. That included a game-winning touchdown pass from Pickett in the game’s final moments.

The crowd was very much into Pickett’s preseason debut. The game almost had a regular-season feel to it thanks to the energy from the fans. It’s clear that Pickett energized the Steelers fan base to some extent.

But that doesn’t mean he should be the starter in week one. Nor does it mean that Mike Tomlin will seriously consider starting Pickett in week one.

What we saw against Seattle was just a snapshot of Pickett’s preseason. That’s not the full story. Tomlin will base his decision on far more than what happened in a preseason game against Seattle.

And really, how much can we glean from a half of preseason football? And was Pickett really that impressive?

The answer to the second question is probably no.

Pickett had the benefit of playing in the second half against a bunch of players who likely won’t be on the field in key roles this fall.

The Seahawks weren’t exactly playing tough defense either.

Pro Football Network, in fact, suggested that Pickett wasn’t spectacular and benefited from a “watered-down soft zone look”.

From PFN:

There wasn’t anything spectacular about Kenny Pickett’s performance against Seattle’s reserve unit in the second half. However, the stadium sounded like a regular-season game, and Pickett finished 13 of 15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

He was decisive and efficient, even if there was no downfield element to the passing attack with him in the game. Pickett picked apart a Seattle defense that wasn’t necessarily pressuring receivers too much in a watered-down soft-zone look on most occasions. But the Pittsburgh product took what that defense gave him and made lemonade.

It can be tough to not overreact to a stellar preseason start from a quarterback. But I think it’s important to keep the expectations for Pickett lowered (for now). His first preseason game was a good start, but he still has an extremely long way to go before he becomes a dependable NFL starter.

For now, Trubisky is still the Steelers’ best option. And I’d be shocked if Tomlin feels otherwise. He’s not going to overreact to 13 completions against Seattle’s backup defense. He’ll take the whole body of work from preseason/training camp into consideration. And that’s certainly going to favor Trubisky in this battle.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports