The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
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: Will the Steelers keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the remainder of the season?
As we’ve already found out this season, and pretty much every other that has ever taken place, a 53-man roster is never static, but rather is constantly subject to revision. You’re likely to see a dozen or more tweaks to the roster once it’s set in any given year.
This season alone, in the middle of Week Two, the Steelers have already made five roster moves, releasing Tuzar Skipper, trading Joshua Dobbs, promoting Johnny Holton from the practice squad, signing Jayrone Elliott to the 53-man roster, and then signing Devlin Hodges to the practice squad.
It’s not even the middle of September yet.
Signing Hodges to the practice squad is a curious deviation from their norm, however. I think I know why this was done, but I’ll explain that later in the day. For as long as I can remember, the team has always carried three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but even the teams who carry two tend to have one on their practice squad.
The advantage of carrying the third quarterback on the 53-man roster, however, is that, if there is an injury, it doesn’t oblige you to make a roster move. It’s a necessity to do so if you only have two quarterbacks, because if one gets injured, then you can’t go into the next game without a backup.
That’s why I can’t help but wonder if, by the time the season is over, Hodges will find his way onto the 53. Outside of the specialist positions, no other position is so directly affected by injury as is quarterback, because, while only one plays at a time, you have to have at least two healthy at all times.