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: Does Mike Tomlin know who will start against the Cleveland Browns, or will it be decided in practice?
Head coach Mike Tomlin is due for his pre-game press conference at noon. On Sunday following the Steelers’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals, he toyed with reporters when asked when he wanted to have an answer on who will start a quarterback by saying that, perhaps, he already had an answer, but he wouldn’t share that with reporters.
If he did know already at that time, then my feeling is that he decided Mason Rudolph would return to the starting lineup. Devlin Hodges came in and threw for 118 yards and a 79-yard touchdown, completing five of 11 passes. He went four for 10 for 39 yards on his other 10 passes. Most of that impressive touchdown was run-after-the-catch effort by James Washington.
I don’t think Tomlin would decide then and there to move on with Hodges. He would at least want to review the game tape and not make a decision to change the man under center from that emotional position, so if he did have an answer then, my belief is that it would be to go back to Rudolph.
But that doesn’t matter. It’s two days later and he’s had plenty of time to look over what happened. He could go in either direction with the available knowledge.
Assuming he has enough information to go off of. We could see the two quarterbacks ‘compete’ during practice this week. And even if he does know who will start, chances are he won’t be announcing it, anyway. It gives the Steelers no advantage to reveal that earlier than they have to.