The Pittsburgh Steelers are now training camp, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp will look much different from the norm, and a big part of that will be the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. There will be no preseason played in 2020, so the first time the Steelers take the field in 2020 will be for the season opener against the New York Giants.
Before we get there, however, there are a number of issues that are outstanding on this team, and this year’s edition of training camp will not provide the level of thoroughness that teams are normally used to in trying to answer those questions.
Questions like, what is the starting offensive line going to look like? Will it include Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor? Who will be the primary nose tackle? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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: Should the Steelers keep all four of their quarterbacks this year?
One of the many questions that NFL teams are facing this year regarding their roster construction concerns how many quarterbacks they should keep. Many teams in recent years have begun to keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, though the majority of them would still keep a third on the practice squad.
The Steelers have long been one of those teams who would resolutely retain three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, almost at all times, barring unexpected adverse circumstances, such as the sudden loss of a player. Both Devlin Hodges and Paxton Lynch experienced brief spells on the practice squad as the number three quarterback last season before being called up.
With Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph both back healthy, Hodges and Lynch are competing for the third quarterback spot, but should the Steelers be very seriously weighing the possibility of keeping the fourth quarterback as well?
With 16 practice squad spots available now, it makes it far easier to carry an extra arm, even if he won’t have any reps in practice to work with. He would, of course, be there for emergencies only, but at least he would be in the playbook and will know the gameplan if injuries or a Covid-19 outbreak arise. He could be kept in quarantine as well to ensure that you have at least one quarterback free from exposure.