The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics 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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Who will take the first-team quarterback reps at OTAs?
Not that this means much—and let’s make that very clear, in the grand scheme of things, this means virtually nothing—but since there isn’t a ton else to talk about of significance right now, let’s discuss this subject. Who is going to take the first-team reps during OTAs this week?
There are four quarterbacks on this roster, and I’m quite confident that all of them will be there, because they’re all very much fighting for either a starting job or just simply a job at all. But only one of them has any experience in the Steelers’ system—indeed, two of them are rookies.
Historically, head coach Mike Tomlin has deferred to the veterans in these situations, citing a desire to possess fluidity in drills at this time of year—with certain exceptions, of course. I’m willing to bet that James Daniels and Mason Cole and Myles Jack will be in the starting lineup, for example.
But who will be under center for the first snaps? I’m going to guess that it’s our dear old friend, Mason Rudolph. Not Mitch Trubisky. Not the heralded first-round draft pick from next door, Kenny Pickett. It will be the guy who has run the offense for years, if I had to put money down on this.
What do you think? Will Rudolph be the first quarterback on the field for the Steelers’ offense this week? Personally, I think it would mean more if he wasn’t. I would take that as a pretty clear signal that they in no way expect him to be in serious competition to start—even if Tomlin tries to later justify it by saying that he played the new guys to get them acclimated, because that’s in contradiction to his procedure in prior OTAs.