QB Killers: Former Player Slams Steelers

One former player and current NFL analyst had harsh words for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Pittsburgh -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping this is the year their quarterback woes come to an end. Since Ben Roethlisberger's retirement, the carousel at the QB position has been continuous in Pittsburgh, with no one able to fill his void.

The latest choice to lead the Steelers offense is veteran Russell Wilson. The former Super Bowl winner is hoping to re-establish himself as a top QB in the NFL at age 35. He had a solid 2023 campaign, but his reputation took a huge hit after being released from his $245 million contract with the Denver Broncos.

The Steelers and Wilson are feeling confident as minicamp wraps up. The talk around the league is less confident, especially from analyst Emmanuel Acho. Discussing the Steelers and Wilson on the Fox Sports 1 show SPEAK, Acho was anything but confident in Wilson's potential in Pittsburgh.

"Pittsburgh is where quarterbacks go to die. I didn't want to do this because I didn't believe it until I started talking through it. Byron Leftwich, Mike Vick, their careers, they came to an end in Pittsburgh." Acho stated. "Charlie Batch, his career came to an end in Pittsburgh. Dennis Dixon, his career came to an end in Pittsburgh. Kenny Pickett, his career as a starter came to an end in Pittsburgh. Mitch Trubisky, his career as a starter came to an end in Pittsburgh. Mason Rudolph, his career came to an end in Pittsburgh." Acho continued.

With all that said, it's clear that Acho believes Wilson will be the next failed QB in Pittsburgh. The problem is that Acho's reasoning doesn't quite add up.

The first two QBs he listed, Leftwich and Vick, came to Pittsburgh specifically to be back-ups. Similarly, while Charlie Batch had starting experience prior to the Steelers, he was brought in to back-up Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox after injuries derailed his career. Furthermore, Batch won some critical games for the Steelers when called upon, so it's hardly fair to say his career died once he signed in Pittsburgh.

In fact, none of those veteran QB's Acho mentioned came here as starters and plummeted to irrelevancy. They had already lost it. Leftwich was no longer a started in the NFL, and Vick had lost his starting job in Philadelphia and floundered with the Jets before signing with the Steelers. Contrary to Acho's comments, they were veterans brought in to play a specific role, which he (perhaps purposefully) ignores.

Bringing up the failures of both Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph is Acho's best evidence for his argument, but it still doesn't hold water. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' failure to properly develop Pickett is a mark against the team the past few years. But it's also a testament to Pickett's ability as an NFL QB. Simply put, he's not a starter.

Similarly, while Rudolph had lofty expectations in Pittsburgh, that was never the real situation with him. Roethlisberger still wanted to play and had no interest in mentoring a replacement, leaving Rudolph to wither away as a back-up and spot starter.

While Acho may have been dramatic to make his point, he's still out to left field with this take. The Steelers have had success with quarterbacks, and they have also had success after playing in Pittsburgh. And now, Russell Wilson has the chance to be the latest example of why Acho's take is horribly wrong.

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Jacob Punturi


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