After taking an extra few days to announce their decision, the Steelers officially will start Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback on Sunday against the Panthers.
Depending on how it begins, it all might be short-lived.
Sources say that while Pittsburgh is moving forward with Trubisky as the starter today in Carolina, he'll have a short leash. Mason Rudolph, the veteran who has been the third-stringer all year, took increased reps this week in practice.
The plan was to have both players ready to play while also allowing them a little late-season competition at practice. With rookie Kenny Pickett in the NFL's concussion protocol and ruled out, it was an opportunity to give more reps to both reserve passers for the first time in a while.
Trubisky earned the starting nod, despite throwing three interceptions last week in relief of Pickett. Outside of those passes, though, Trubisky played well and moved the ball. But if he turns it over 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 wideout Diontae Johnson said on Thursday, per ESPN.com. "I know he's ready to play. I know it's probably in the back of his mind like, 'Dang, when I'm going get my chance?' I feel like this week is it for him. I know he's going to do everything it takes to be prepared this week, get ready for Sunday."
Rudolph has not yet played this season, but he did start 10 games over three seasons as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. Time will tell if Rudolph gets another opportunity today, albeit in relief.
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