Now that the 2020 training camp has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: QB Paxton Lynch
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: From what little we have been able to glean from practice reports, veteran quarterback Paxton Lynch has not been having the best training camp as he battles for the number three quarterback position on the Steelers’ 53-man roster.
Back in December at the end of the season, fans were clamoring for Mike Tomlin to start Paxton Lynch in the regular season finale. This was, of course, after Mason Rudolph was benched for Devlin Hodges, then Hodges was benched for Rudolph, and Rudolph was injured, forcing Hodges back into the starting lineup for the finale.
Tomlin wasn’t hearing it. Lynch, though with a few years in the league, was only brought in during the middle of September, and the team spent the time between those two points giving Rudolph and Hodges pretty much every rep in practice that they could afford, because, coming into the season, neither of them had ever thrown an NFL pass before.
For those in Lynch’s corner, the theory was that he would have the opportunity to show his true self this offseason, with a full year to learn the Steelers’ system. The fact that there were not Spring workouts with which to gain valuable reps obviously hurt him, but he is a veteran, and if he can’t perform in a training camp setting, then he is not going to earn a roster spot.
This is what has happened to him for the last couple of years. Last season, the Seattle Seahawks chose to keep Geno Smith over him as their backup. The Steelers only eventually signed him, and originally only to the practice squad, after Ben Roethlisberger was injured.
The only thing that Lynch has going for him is ‘the tools’. We always hear talk about him having ‘all the tools’. But if you don’t know how to use the tools, then you’re worse off than the mechanic who has old, rusty tools. Because at least he knows what to do with them.
So far, for years, through multiple organizations, he hasn’t shown that he can do it. Now that he has training camp, he still doesn’t appear to be doing it. At this point his nickname should just be The Tool.