With OTAs behind us and mandatory minicamp beginning tomorrow, it is time to look forward to training camp. There will be many positional battles for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. However, there may not be one as controversial as the battle to backup Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. With Roethlisberger’s statements on Pittsburgh drafting Mason Rudolph, all eyes will be on the rookie quarterback. Rudolph will be competing with longtime backup Landry Jones and second-year quarterback Josh Dobbs.
Analyzing the Pittsburgh Steelers Backup Quarterback Situation
The only certainty at the quarterback position for Pittsburgh is that Roethlisberger will be starting. Roethlisberger, entering his 15th season with the Steelers, has returned at age 36 for another season. In recent years retirement rumors have surrounded the veteran quarterback, but those seem to be behind Roethlisberger. So much so that Roethlisberger criticized Pittsburgh for drafting Rudolph, who many see as his replacement.
Starting Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
The issue with Roethlisberger is no longer his commitment to the team (at least in his eyes.) The issue now, especially as his age climbs, is his health. He has played a full 16-game season just three times in his career. Because of this the rest of the depth chart is important, in case Roethlisberger were to go down to injury.
Second String: Landry Jones
With Roethlisberger’s health in mind, we will most likely see Jones start the season as the second string quarterback. Jones has the most experience of the quarterbacks remaining, and has gained Pittsburgh’s trust. Jones has shown in his appearances with Pittsburgh that he is a serviceable backup and will continue to take on this role. While he won’t be the quarterback of the future, Pittsburgh will keep Jones in the second spot. This will ensure that if Roethlisberger does go down, the most NFL experienced quarterback will be next in line.
Third String: Mason Rudolph
While Rudolph is likely going to be Roethlisberger’s replacement, don’t expect him to be the backup just yet. Rudolph would have to have a stellar camp and preseason to slide into the second spot at quarterback. His rookie year will be about learning the system and progressing as a pro quarterback. Much like we saw little of Dobbs last season, expect the same. However, what little time Rudolph does see, expect it to be highly anticipated and analyzed. At 6’5’’ and 235 pounds with first-round talent, expect Rudolph to progress quickly and impress early.
Fourth String: Josh Dobbs
Dobbs is the wild card of the Pittsburgh quarterback situation entering the 2018 season. Coming out the draft, the Tennessee product was touted as a brilliant mind with a combination of deep throw accuracy and mobility. We did not see much of Dobbs at all last season, so much of his progression will have to be observed this year. With a full year to learn the playbook under his belt, do not be surprised if Dobbs impresses this year. If not, however, he may find himself on the practice squad in 2018.
An Embarrassment of Riches
Regardless of how the depth chart shakes up come September, the quarterback battle will be intriguing. Each day and week of training camp will be scrutinized, with each preseason game imperative. However Pittsburgh chooses to handle it’s quarterbacks, the position looks to be solid heading into 2018.