Pittsburgh Steelers fans spent training camp waiting for quarterback Dwayne Haskins to get his ‘chance’. He got it during tonight’s game, and he probably wishes that he didn’t. While he was able to come back onto the field and lead a meaningless touchdown very late in the game, his performance left very much to be desired.
“Like the rest of us, I didn’t think it was enough varsity work from him”, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game when asked to assess the performance of his young quarterback. “It wasn’t the type of performance that he wanted, or we wanted. But such is life”.
Haskins would finish the game having completed nine of 18 pass attempts for 108 yards with one touchdown and one interception, with a quarterback rating of 71.9. He went 4-for-4 for 70 yards and a touchdown on his final drive after he came back into the game following a possible turf toe injury suffered by Joshua Dobbs. It was already 34-6 by that point with just minutes left to play.
Asked if his ability to come back into the game and put some points on the board in the manner that he did helped Haskins, Tomlin said, “I’m sure it did for him, in terms of getting that taste out of his mouth, but, obviously, it had no consequence or bearing on the outcome of the game”.
The bottom line is, if he had any shot of earning the backup quarterback job in tonight’s game—and we don’t really know whether or not that was truly the case—he very obviously failed to do that. It was a very disappointing showing, even considering the fact that he was playing a starting defense with mostly backups alongside him.
Tomlin announced well before the game that neither Ben Roethlisberger nor Mason Rudolph would play in the season finale, a signal that they may have already decided that Rudolph would consider to be their backup. Haskins was given the opportunity to start, and he wound up playing about three quarters.
Were it not for Dobbs suffering the aforementioned turf toe injury that caused him to leave the game, I would seriously wonder if Haskins’ roster spot is even safe. And perhaps I shouldn’t leave that off the table. There are weeks before the regular season begins, and the third quarterback doesn’t even dress in the first place.
Of course, we must also resist reading too much into one preseason game. He has looked better than this at every other stage of his on-field journey since arriving in Pittsburgh. He is obviously better than he played tonight. But by how much?