The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
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 have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? 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: Whom will the Steelers release in order to make room for another quarterback on the 53-man roster (assuming one is needed)?
I’m pretty confident that anyone reading this understands already why the question is being asked. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took a vicious hit to the head during yesterday’s game in the second half, rendering him unconscious before he even hit the ground.
He was immediately diagnosed with a concussion before being taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, even if he was largely able to get up and walk off, assisted, under his own power, and reportedly was able to return home last night.
The odds of him being cleared to play on Sunday, and to get in enough practice time for the coaches to feel comfortable with him playing, however, are very slim, and in that event, it’s a necessity for the Steelers to create an additional roster spot to add another quarterback—presumably Paxton Lynch from the practice squad—to the 53-man roster.
And so the question immediately becomes, where does the roster spot come from? With injuries at wide receiver, it’s hard to see any fat being trimmed there. Both inside and outside linebacker are dealing with injuries, as well.
The best I can come up with is, once again, rookie undrafted free agent offensive lineman Fred Johnson. He is going to be a healthy scratch all season, and is the ninth lineman behind 2018 third-round pick Chukwuma Okorafor. If the Steelers happen to need another interior-capable lineman, Matt Feiler can do that.
But we could also get a more surprising move, like Zach Gentry, or even go with Jayrone Elliott despite Anthony Chickillo’s injury. Maybe even Artie Burns as Cameron Sutton continues to play well.