Devil’s Advocate: Mettenberger Makes It To Latrobe

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Will Zach Mettenberger make it to training camp after the Steelers used a fourth-round pick on Joshua Dobbs?

The Pittsburgh Steelers came into this draft looking for a quarterback, and the majority believed that they were sure to pull the trigger at some point. I resisted the herd thought and ended up being quite wrong after the team added Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, one of their pre-draft visitors.

With Ben Roethlisberger still here and Landry Jones re-signed on a two-year deal, it’s hard to imagine that last year’s third-string quarterback has any chance of making the team again. That would be Zach Mettenberger, whom they claimed off waivers last year after losing Bruce Gradkowski to an injury.

That would ostensibly threaten his position on the roster as early as today, when I expect the Steelers might announce some roster cuts following loading up on undrafted free agents that pushed them beyond 90 players.

But the team almost always goes into training camp with at least four quarterbacks, and Mettenberger didn’t get a chance to have an offseason with them last year, so they may want to see what he can absorb through the spring and then show in the preseason.

That’s a nice thought—but where will the reps come from? Jones is still a fairly young player and is the backup, somebody who still needs reps. Dobbs, a rookie, is obviously going to need quite a bit of reps. And the Steelers already added another quarterback as a free agent after the draft, so they actually have five on the roster right now.

That fact really hurts his chances of even making it to training camp, let alone making the roster. But it could be good for him. The earlier he is released, the quicker he can catch on with another team and have a better chance to compete and make a roster. The Steelers may release him quickly, as a courtesy.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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