The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 mandatory minicamp got underway on Tuesday and with three weeks’ worth of OTA practices now in the books, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked to comment on the progress he’s seen made by several offensive players so far this offseason and that includes his backups, Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph.
“I think more comfortable,” Roethlisberger said when asked about the progress he’s seen Dobbs and Rudolph both make since this same time last offseason. “Especially Mason. You know, obviously your first year you’re head’s probably spinning a little bit trying to learn things. You see him settling into it a lot, understanding, not afraid to step up to whatever group, to whatever receiver. I think in the past you might’ve felt a little hesitancy to throw to certain guys and now they’re stepping in, ready to go.”
As for Dobbs, who served as Roethlisberger’s backup all of last season, he received a favorable review from the Steelers starter as well.
“And Josh just continues to grow,” Roethlisberger said of Dobbs, who is now in his third season in the NFL. “A guy that’s definitely more understanding and more comfortable in this offense. And so it’s fun to watch them grow.”
None of Roethlisberger’s progress reports on his two backups are overly surprising as both should definitely have made jumps from this same time a year ago. Both are obviously getting a better quality of reps this year and that includes both working some with the first-team offense.
Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who also still functions as the team’s primary quarterbacks coach, might talk some on Tuesday as well and if he does, it will be interesting to hear him possibly talking more about the progress he’s seen from Dobbs and Rudolph so far this offseason.
This year’s training camp battle between Dobbs and Rudolph figures to be a very good one with the latter expected by many to overtake the former on the depth chart between now and the team’s bye week. In the meantime, Roethlisberger saying Tuesday that both seem a lot more comfortable this offseason is yet another thing to be excited about before the team takes an extended break before the start of training camp in Latrobe in late July.