We don’t normally write about this stuff but one of Ed Bouchette’s answers in his chat today caught my attention.
VA Beach Stillers …: Does Renner have a shot of making final roster?
Ed Bouchette: I do not think he has much of one. If things stay the same, I could see them open with just 2 qbs on the 53-man roster and someone on the practice squad. It depends on how Bruce Gradkowski’s injury heals, too.
Bouchette was able to elaborate a bit on Gradkowski’s hamstring injury, calling it a Grade 2 tear and that it could take “another month,” before he’s healed. A month from today puts the calendar two days before the Steelers’ Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Steelers traditionally carry three quarterbacks, bucking the league-wide trend of keeping just two. That was probably the plan coming into this season but circumstances have clearly changed the landscape after Bruce Gradkowski’s and Dustin Vaughan’s injuries.
Even if they keep two – Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones – the team is sure to keep a third member on the practice squad. It’s unclear who that player would be. Perhaps Bryn Renner if he shows well, Vaughan if he can heal up in time, or another developmental arm acquired at cutdowns.
Having a third quarterback on the 53 may offer piece of mind but with the league doing away with the third-team QB rule, teams are forced to either make their third-stringer active or not. And the Steelers began last season with the latter, sitting Landry Jones for the season opener. That means having that third guy won’t help for an injury that occurs during the game. And if there is a multi-week injury, the team can simply call up their practice squad quarterback to the 53.
That’s the case I and several others have made for the past several years, though we always accepted the fate that the team would keep three. This year, that story, for probably the first time in franchise history, could change.