As a bunch of “Movin ‘ the Chains”On SiriusXM’s NFL Radio, ex-Steelers quarterback Jim Miller will likely be protecting tabs on his former group when it studies to Saint Vincent Faculty for coaching camp subsequent month.
Which will give Miller a extreme case of Black and Gold deja vu.
As a result of similar to Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett in 2022, Miller was additionally a part of a three-man quarterback competitors with the Steelers in 1996. Neil O’Donnell departed the group through free company after the Tremendous Bowl XXX loss to Dallas on the finish of the 1995 season. That left Miller – getting into his third yr within the NFL – to battle for the beginning job with veteran Mike Tomczak and second-year professional Kordell Stewart.
It was a job Miller finally received, opening the common season in Jacksonville. However he was benched in favor of Tomczak halfway via that sport. Tomczak began the remaining 15 video games of the common season because the Steelers received the AFC Central with a 10-6 file.
“I used to be a younger quarterback. But it surely was a veteran group. I perceive (Invoice) Cowher’s reasoning why he did it, ”Miller informed me throughout a Friday look on 105.9 The X. “They only did not wish to undergo the rising pains as a result of we had a boatload of accidents in Week 1 towards Jacksonville – which we sadly misplaced in my first begin as a quarterback.”
There was one main distinction between the Steelers’ present circumstances and the state of affairs that Miller was part of in ’96. Again then, Cowher had a fallback answer to successfully divvy up the follow reps, whereas nonetheless utilizing all three quarterbacks to assist the group. He moved Stewart again to his “Slash” position the place he debuted as a rookie.
In ’96, Stewart threw the ball 30 instances throughout the common season. However he additionally caught it 17 instances and ran it on 39 events, accounting for eight touchdowns alongside the best way.
No such choice exists this yr between Trubisky, Pickett and Rudolph.
That’s not the one motive why Miller thinks present head coach Mike Tomlin might have a tougher time determining a technique to equitably distribute follow reps among the many three quarterbacks if he genuinely needs to get a have a look at how three function with the opposite 10 beginning gamers. on offense.
“It is tougher in the present day as a result of you do not have a real two-day coaching camp,” Miller mentioned. “We legitimately had a morning and a day follow. So that you miss all these reps within the (second) follow. They’re all gone now. That was sometimes a passing follow. Now it’s important to do it multi function follow. ”
Miller mentioned he thinks as time goes alongside in camp, Rudolph may even see fewer snaps than the opposite two in group durations as a result of he is the one returning quarterback on the roster. So he is the one most aware of the offense and could want reps in particular person drills and throwing “routes towards air” to remain sharp.
“Mason is a veteran. He has been across the block. He is aware of the offense. I feel he’s the one who’s going to must do the psychological reps greater than anyone, ”Miller mentioned.
Another choice that will current itself is that if the Steelers discover a commerce companion who might wish to quit an asset for Rudolph. However as Cowher just lately mentioned to Miller when he was a visitor of Miller’s on Sirius XM, protecting all three and bringing Pickett alongside slowly is probably not a nasty concept.
“The pace of the sport. That’s a big distinction for a university participant coming into the professional ranks from the school ranks, ” Cowher informed Miller. “Mason and Mitch have seen much more within the NFL. While you have a look at Kenny Pickett, maintain it easy. Let him turn into it. While you let him get his confidence early, then you may develop with him. ”
All that being mentioned, the competitors angle in Latrobe could also be rendered moot if the Steelers decide to staying on the trail that was constantly laid out throughout OTAs and minicamp. It had Trubisky working with the primary group, adopted by Rudolph with the second group and Pickett with the third.
If that sample holds and it’s Trubisky’s job to lose, Miller has religion that he’ll carry out properly in Pittsburgh. After Miller left the Steelers, he spent 4 seasons in Chicago and have become their pregame and postgame analyst for Bears video games in retirement. So he has watched Trubisky carefully and sees room for progress past what Trubisky confirmed when he was a starter with the Bears and a backup in Buffalo.
“The contract says all of it with Mitch. They need him to be the man, ”Miller mentioned. “His teammates liked him (in Chicago). Mitch works extraordinarily exhausting. He’s a troublesome man. He lays it out for his teammates. … Mitch led a group twice to the playoffs. He is acquired a successful file.
“It was a tough go for him in Chicago. It wasn’t all his fault. He is getting one other alternative. I feel he’ll take advantage of it. ”
The most important subject that Miller thinks Tomlin will face is communication with the QBs about plans for the way forward for the place.
“You’ve acquired to be open and trustworthy with gamers. In the event you begin ‘bs-ing’ gamers and begin promising issues which you could’t ship, that is not the best way to do it, “Miller mentioned.
As for the best way ’96 went, Miller nonetheless has his personal opinions about how issues transpired.
“(Cowher) simply wished to regular the ship. And Mike had the power to do this. Mike was a terrific teammate. He dealt with it tremendously, ”Miller mentioned. “However, for me, once you undergo a year-long battle and I win the job… I feel I deserved greater than two quarters.”
That ’96 marketing campaign ended with a 28-3 playoff loss to the New England Patriots. However not less than the group received a playoff sport 42-14 the earlier week at Three Rivers Stadium towards the Indianapolis Colts.
That is one thing this franchise would like to do once more for the primary time in 5 years. No matter who the quarterback is.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Assessment employees author. You’ll be able to contact Tim at email@example.com or through Twitter. All tweets could possibly be reposted. All emails are topic to publication until in any other case specified.