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Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky: 'I'm going to be aggressive' Thursday vs. Patriots

With Kenny Pickett expected to miss multiple weeks following ankle surgery, Mitch Trubisky is in charge of keeping the 7-5 Pittsburgh Steelers' playoff hopes afloat.

The backup has appeared in three games this season, but Thursday night's tilt against New England will mark his first start of 2023. Trubisky's last start came in Week 15, 2022, at Carolina, a 24-16 Steelers win, while Pickett was out with a concussion. Trubisky didn't wow that day, but also didn't botch the game, completing 17 of 22 passes for 179 yards with zero touchdown passes and zero interceptions, and added a run for a score.

The Steelers' offense found new energy following the firing of Matt Canada. However, they've still struggled to find the end zone, scoring 16 points in Week 12's win over Cincinnati and 10 in the faceplant versus Arizona.

Facing a Patriots defense that has smothered opponents despite losing their past five games, Trubisky knows he must balance smart play with an aggressive attitude.

"We're trying to score points," Trubisky said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "I'm going to be aggressive. I'm going to take care of the football, and we've got to play better as an offense. We're going against a good defense this week that is well-coached. So, we've got to do our job and execute.

"We want to be an aggressive offense. So whatever that means, taking care of football, we got to find ways to score points. That's the bottom line."

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Since he joined Pittsburgh last season, Trubisky hasn't been shy about trying to stretch the field in his brief outings but hasn't produced fruitful results.

Trubisky has thrown deep on 13.5% of his pass attempts since 2022 (4th-highest in the NFL, min. 200 attempts), per Next Gen Stats. Trubisky has a 25.1 passer rating on deep passes since 2022 (lowest in NFL, min. 25 such attempts). Trubisky on 20-plus air-yard passes (since 2022, min. 25 such attempts): 9/31 (29.0%), 280 yards, zero touchdowns, three interceptions, 25.1 passer rating (lowest). He's generated the most deep passes without a TD (since 2022): Trubisky (31), Sam Darnold (21), Bryce Young (17), Brent Rypien (16), Tyler Huntley (14).

Trubisky has also shown a tendency to take risks with tight windows. Since 2022, Trubisky has the highest tight-window rate in the NFL, minimum of 200 attempts, at 23.6%, per Next Gen Stats, with the lowest open rate in the league at 31.8 percent. Highest tight-window percentage (since 2022, min. 200 attempts): Trubisky (23.6%), Jordan Love (18.9%), Dak Prescott (18.6%), Ryan Tannehill (17.6%).

Trubisky is keenly aware that a balance must be struck between being hyper-aggressive and too risk-averse.

"It's always a fine line," said Trubisky. "I think you can ask any quarterback that you want to be aggressive, but if you're too safe with the football, you're not going to move it. So, you've got to know what you can do. And you always have got to take care of football. But sometimes you've just got to believe in yourself that you can make the throws to move the ball down the field and score points."

With Thursday night's matchup featuring two struggling offenses, it'll be the one who makes the big play while avoiding the massive mistake that will come out with the W.

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