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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Ray Fittipaldo

Did Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada tip his hand about Sunday’s starting quarterback?

PITTSBURGH — The strange midweek quarterback competition at Steelers headquarters this week might not be a competition after all. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada might have tipped the hand of the coaching staff when he met with reporters Thursday morning.

Canada was asked why Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph were sharing first-team reps in practice with starter Kenny Pickett in concussion protocol.

“I think part of that is we're making sure we're in a situation that everybody's ready to play,” Canada said. “We’ve had two quarterbacks playing all year and Mason’s been a third that hasn't had a lot of reps at all.

“So, you still want to prepare your football team to get ready to play. I don't think it's that abnormal to get them both ready, give them reps. We’ll obviously have a plan with that, and we'll see where we're at as things come down with the protocol.”

Canada’s response pointed up the possibility of Trubisky starting with Rudolph being prepared to play if Trubisky has to be replaced either due to injury or performance.

Pickett was limited in practice for a second day in a row. When Pickett was concussed earlier in the season, he was a full practice participant all week and did not miss a game.

There is a chance Pickett can get cleared by doctors Friday or Saturday, but the coaches could opt to go with one of the quarterbacks who have practiced with the starters all week.

“Obviously, when your starting quarterback is maybe not available, you don't know where he's going to be, that presents a different situation,” Canada said. “I think we're fortunate to have a really deep quarterback room, I'll say that. We’ve got guys that have all started. Mason started games. Obviously, Mitch has started a lot of football games, started games this year. Mason started games here for us in the past. You never want to be in this situation, but I think we’re in as good a spot as we could be with where we're at. You just have to proceed forward and get ready to play.”

Linebacker Myles Jack (groin), tight end Pat Freiermuth (foot) and defensive tackle Larry Ogubjoni (toe) did not practice for a second consecutive day. Receiver Diontae Johnson (hip) also did not practice.

Running back Najee Harris (hip) was a full participant after missing Wednesday. Cam Sutton (neck) also returned to full participation after being limited Wednesday.

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