2021 Offseason Questions: Will Any QB Separate Themselves Tonight?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: Will anybody at quarterback separate themselves from the pack tonight?

The Steelers are set to play their second preseason game tonight, and head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that the plan for the quarterback rotation remains the same as it was last week: Mason Rudolph will start, while Dwayne Haskins will relieve him by the end of the first half, and Joshua Dobbs will clean up at the end of the fourth quarter.

By and large, while nobody showed poorly, there wasn’t really any standout performance among the group last week. Could a game under their belts and a healthier offensive line help provide a spark that might lead one quarterback or another to have a particularly strong performance?

The general belief is that the backup quarterback position is open for competition, even if Rudolph is the two-year incumbent. But Dobbs has been the backup before, and Haskins has been a starter before. In theory, any of them should be capable of owning the role, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be available to be won.

But somebody has to go out there and earn it for themselves if that is the case, and the preseason is the easiest way to do it. I don’t feel like anybody did that last week, but there are still three more games yet to go, so there’s plenty of time for one of them to take the reins.

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