2017 Camp Questions: What Has Bart Houston Shown That Is Worth Celebrating?

The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.

This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Why are some people so enamored with the prospect of Bart Houston?

I mean no disrespect, exactly—though perhaps it might be hard to avoid—but I’m finding it mildly perplexing that there seem to be more than a small handful of people, on our site and elsewhere, who are really in the corner of Bart Houston, the rookie undrafted free agent quarterback out of Wisconsin, who was not a starter there.

The Steelers signed Houston a few weeks after the draft, originally signing another quarterback as their fourth arm for the offseason, but eventually releasing him and substituting him with the man named after Packers great Bart Starr.

But unfortunately, being named after somebody doesn’t give you their abilities.

There are some who want to see Houston make the roster. Some of them want him to make it over four-round rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Others want Dobbs to be Ben Roethlisberger’s backup and have Houston as the third quarterback, with Landry Jones being released.

Why? What has he done that has earned such recognition? I understand the general supposition that people don’t like Jones or Dobbs…but why like Houston? It seems to be what I refer to as Next Man Up Syndrome, in which the backup is always better than the struggling starter. Or in this case the backup to the backup to the backup.

Through two preseason games, and roughly two quarters of play, Houston completed 7 of 18 passes attempted for 48 yards. He has thrown one touchdown and one interception and carried the ball four times for minus-two yards, also fumbling once.

Houston’s touchdown pass was far from spectacular, but Justin Hunter’s play after the reception—on a pass thrown short of the end zone—was. His interception was tossed into triple coverage in the red zone.

He may have been the victim of a couple of dropped passes, or passes that should have been held on to, but, frankly, he’s not even the best camp arm the Steelers have had over the past few years. And there’s no chance, barring injury or something similarly unforeseen, that he may make the team.

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