The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
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 be tempted to carry four quarterbacks this year (including the practice squad) due to Ben Roethlisberger’s injury situation?
Let’s say we get to September and Ben Roethlisberger looks as though he’s ready to go. At the same time, the Steelers are entirely aware that he just had surgery on his throwing elbow less than a year ago, and they haven’t seen him seriously throw the ball much, if at all, in a game-like setting.
Pittsburgh does damn near anything it can for the most part to make sure it has three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, shy of the brief stays last season of Devlin Hodges and then Paxton Lynch on the practice squad.
Both of them ended up on the 53-man roster last season behind Mason Rudolph. Presumably, two of the three will be on the 53-man roster in 2020. Will one of them also be on the practice squad (or potentially somebody else)?
When the Steelers traded Joshua Dobbs last year, they knew that they had Hodges waiting in the wings ready to be signed, so if their number four quarterback is somebody who they feel is not likely to be picked up, they wouldn’t feel any compelling pull to carry them. Both Hodges and Lynch are experienced quarterbacks now, however.
The team claimed Zach Mettenberger off waivers a few years ago and carried him on the 53-man roster all year after Bruce Gradkowski was injured, to show how serious they are about carrying three quarterbacks. Now add on top of that uncertainty about how durable Roethlisberger can be. It could make them consider wanting to have four arms working in their system. And Roethlisberger may not be throwing as much in practice this year.