2018 Offseason Questions: How Will Preseason QB Snaps Be Divided?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: How will the Steelers divide preseason game reps among the quarterbacks?

The Steelers have not had this many young arms, at least that they have made significant investments in, for a very long time, or perhaps even ever. They have two quarterbacks who have never played a snap that they have taken in the third and fourth rounds over the past two years. Even their backup, going into his sixth year, is a player who still needs a decent amount of reps to prepare for his role.

With Ben Roethlisberger likely to play very little during the preseason, there will be a lot of game action to go around, but it starts to seem like a lot less once you realize that you have to split it among three arms instead of two. There is no Bart Houston or John Parker Wilson this year that they can just give scraps to, if anything.

The only position on the roster that’s decided right now is Roethlisberger’s. rookie Mason Rudolph is guaranteed a spot, but not a role. It may depend on how much the Steelers would like to see him win the backup quarterback job how many reps he actually gets.

Joshua Dobbs received extensive playing time last season, but that came in part because Landry Jones was dealing with an injury for a couple of games, if memory serves, that bought the then-rookie extra opportunities. Houston actually played a lot more than the typical number four arm gets to because of that.

If Jones is going to be the backup, then he needs the snaps. if Dobbs is going to make the roster, then he needs the snaps. Rudolph needs the snaps no matter what role he plays, or if he even dresses this season, simply because he is a rookie.

No matter how you slice it, they all need to play. The simplest solution would be for Rudolph to impress quick enough to earn the number two reps, which would give the answer we’re looking for: throw the rookie as much work as possible.

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