The Pittsburgh Steelers will close out their 2021 preseason slate Friday night on the road against the Carolina Panthers, and head coach Mike Tomlin revealed on Wednesday that third-string quarterback Dwayne Haskins will start that contest.
So far in the preseason Haskins, who was signed to a one-year contract way earlier in the offseason, is 28 of 42 passing for 271 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Friday night will mark his first preseason start for the Steelers. The Panthers are expected to play quite a few of their defensive starters Friday night against the Steelers.
Haskins’ last start came against the Panthers in 2020. It was a 20-13 regular season loss on Dec. 27. The former first-round draft pick out of Ohio State was 14-of-28 passing in that game for 154 yards with two interceptions. Haskins was replaced by quarterback Taylor Heinicke for the last two drives of the fourth quarter of that game. Washington released Haskins the next day.
Tomlin also said on Wednesday that quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph aren’t scheduled to play Friday night against the Panthers. That means that Joshua Dobbs, who did not play in the team’s third preseason game this past Saturday, will back up Haskins against the Panthers.
In other related news, Tomlin said on Wednesday that rookie running back Najee Harris won’t play Friday night against the Panthers. Running back Benny Snell Jr. is scheduled to play, however. Snell has missed the Steelers first three preseason games with an undisclosed injury. Tomlin seemed to have had indicated on Wednesday that Snell will start against the Panthers.
Tomlin also indicated during his Wednesday press conference that several other starters are expected to be held out of the team’s preseason finale against the Panthers.