The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are in a critical portion of the offseason in which the preseason takes center stage, where some of the biggest and most important questions get answered, especially in terms of personnel.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Was Mike Tomlin paying more than lip service to the idea of keeping four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster?
During his pre-game press conference on Tuesday, Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked whether or not it’s a possibility that the team would keep all four of their quarterbacks currently on the 90-man roster into the regular season on the active roster.
“You’re certainly capable of it”, he told reporters. “It’s been done”, he acknowledged, though he hastened to add that it has been far more common for teams to keep only two quarterbacks rather than four. No team carried four quarterbacks on their roster last season.
At the moment, the Steelers have their franchise quarterback and his backup, who is heading into his sixth season. They also have two young prospects that they have drafted in the third and fourth rounds over the past two years. A case can be made for keeping each of them. But is there a case for keeping all of them?
While the Steelers never drafted Joshua Dobbs assuming that he would become Ben Roethlisberger’s heir apparent, the presumption has to be that they felt he could at least overtake Landry Jones in the backup role. Apparently a lot of observers here believe that he already has.
But can both Jones and Dobbs be retained on the roster while also making room for Mason Rudolph, the third-round quarterback the team sees as a first-round talent and a player that they believe could legitimately become their post-Ben starter?
More importantly, would the Steelers do that? While they are the rare franchise committed to having three quarterbacks on the roster to protect themselves, Tomlin has never carried four at the same time.
Maybe a convincing performance from Dobbs tonight would help make the decision a little easier. Or maybe it would make trading one of their quarterbacks easier. It shouldn’t be too much longer before we find out.