In case you’re wondering how the competition is going at the backup quarterback positions so far during the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 training camp, it’s going just like you should have thought it would way before the team even reported to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe over a week ago. In short, Landry Jones is still the backup behind starter Ben Roethlisberger with Joshua Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph lined up behind those two, respectively.
During a morning interview a few days ago on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was essentially asked if Jones is currently having to battle Rudolph, the team’s first of two third-round draft picks this year, for the right to be the backup to Roethlisberger by the time the 2018 season gets underway.
“Well, I think Landry obviously has the experience advantage against a guy like Mason Rudolph and they come in here and they compete,” Colbert said. “I mean, obviously, Landry’s our number two. Joshua Dobbs is our number three right now and Mason has to work his way through the rotation. They’ll get their reps and Coach [Mike Tomlin] likes to mix the reps up to make it a fair competition so that when Landry and Mason and Joshua are working, they work with different groups so as to balance it out. You know, Mason’s not always with the fours, Landry’s not always with the twos and Josh isn’t always with the threes. So, the days that Ben doesn’t work, which are scheduled days, it helps to get those guys the extra reps and again, Coach we’ll mix those up.”
None of what Colbert said about the current quarterback pecking order should be surprising to anyone and especially with only six days of training camp practices now in the books. If anyone thought Rudolph would be higher than the fourth and final spot on the quarterback depth chart at this point of training camp, they were delirious.
It’s a given that Rudolph is going to make the team’s 53-man roster this year as long as he remains fully healthy and isn’t ultimately placed on the Reserve/Injured list. Assuming he sticks on the 53-man roster, Dobbs will more than likely be the odd man out and especially if Rudolph can’t earn the right to backup Roethlisberger over the course of the next four weeks.
It will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Tomlin ultimately works the quarterback rotation in the team’s first two games, however, and especially if Roethlisberger sits both contests out just as he did last year. While Jones could obviously see a little bit of playing time in both of those first two preseason games, Dobbs and Rudolph figure to see the lion’s share of snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers just the same.
Last year, Dobbs and then No. 4 quarterback Bart Houston were the only two signal callers to see action in the Steelers preseason opener against the New York Giants and that’s likely because Jones was nursing an abdominal strain at the time. Those two quarterbacks also were the only two to see snaps against the Atlanta Falcons the following week and quite honestly, both played pretty bad.
By now, the Steelers should have a pretty good idea as to what kind of quarterback Jones is and isn’t entering his sixth year and thus him seeing any playing time in the Steelers first two preseason games probably isn’t overly necessary. Instead, the Steelers should let Dobbs and Rudolph play exclusively in the team’s first two preseason games this year and go from there.