NFL Legend Sees Special Role for Steelers QB

The Pittsburgh Steelers could still use Justin Fields talents in a different role.
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) during the game
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) during the game / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded for Justin Fields, he was already cemented as the backup to presumed starter Russell Wilson and that arrangement doesn't appear to be bound for any kind of change anytime soon. But that doesn't mean the coaching staff has to let his talent completely waste away on the bench for a year.

Former Saints quarterback and surefire Hall of Famer Drew Brees said he thinks the Steelers would be wise to let Fields take some snaps in special packages similar to what his team provided for Taysom Hill.

“Justin Fields obviously has an incredible skill set and I’m excited to see how Pittsburgh uses him this year,” Brees said in an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show recently. “I would actually envision a situation where it’s almost like a Taysom Hill-type package like we had in New Orleans. Russell Wilson is your starting quarterback, Justin Fields is getting seven to 10 snaps a game. How problematic would that be for a defense?"

Hill has become famous around the NFL for his abilities not just as a quarterback but as an occasional slot receiver and tight end. Hill's athleticism helped him get his foot in the door at the NFL level and stick around for going on eight years in professional football.

Brees even believes this could have been a better long-term development plan for Fields when he was with the Chicago Bears and thinks the Steelers could get back to basics as they try to keep their new young quarterback preserved for the future.

"He can come in and do many things explosively in the run game and the pass game. Why wouldn’t they have started him off that way as a rookie,” Brees said. “Hey, you’re not going to be the starter, but we’re going to have a package of stuff for you that brings you along to kind of get your feet wet and get you into this without feeling like you’re throwing the whole thing on his shoulders.”

Since 2022, Fields has more rushing yards than any other quarterback in the NFL and the Steelers could stull tap those abilities, even without him filling a starting role.

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Stephen Thompson

STEPHEN THOMPSON

Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper. He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press. During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.