The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Joshua Dobbs followed Ben Roethlisberger in playing time tonight.
Explanation: Head Coach Mike Tomlin said that Ben Roethlisberger would start tonight’s game, which is no surprise, but he left the rest up to speculation, saying that he had yet to determine who would follow Roethlisberger at quarterback after he leaves the game. He also didn’t make it clear if every quarterback would play, but Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph are battling for the number two role.
Dobbs started the first preseason game. Rudolph started the second. Most likely, Dobbs will be back at the front of the line (behind Roethlisberger this week, and I would bet that Rudolph starts the final preseason game as well.
Dobbs has the most to regain out of the two, looking to redeem himself after throwing a red zone interception in his last outing and failing to lead his team to any touchdowns (though he had a touchdown overturned by penalty that the Steelers’ staff disagreed with, so internally, they’re probably giving him credit for that).
I think the Steelers are more interested in seeing Rudolph for a longer period of time, so he may play most of the second half, if not all of it, even if that comes at the expense of Devlin Hodges (hey, it’s not easy finding playing time for four quarterbacks). That gives the first half to Roethlisberger and Dobbs to split up.
One thing to consider is that the team knows more about Dobbs, since he’s been here longer and played more snaps, than Rudolph. Assuming they get Roethlisberger out of the game early enough, allowing the second-year quarterback to start would afford them the best opportunity to get a good look at him against a first-team defense that actually has a game plan.
Even though Dobbs is the incumbent backup, Tomlin made it clear that nothing should be read into who comes in first with respect to where the competition stands, so that’s another reason to think that Rudolph could be the second quarterback in the game, after Roethlisberger goes.