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: Are there enough reps during training camp to truly have a three-way quarterback competition—and if not, how will the Steelers solve the problem?
Officially, the Steelers have paid a lot of lip service since the draft toward the idea of an open competition at the quarterback position. While not a lot of people are betting on seventh-round rookie Chris Oladokun being the opening-day starter, that still leaves three other quarterbacks.
Is that too many arms between which to distribute a number of practice reps that is sufficient to gauge performance relative to others—enough to decide who should start? Can you realistically have a three-person quarterback competition in the NFL given the limited timeframe in training camp?
That’s an important question for head coach Mike Tomlin to answer, because if the answer is no, then he risks jeopardizing the integrity of his own quarterback competition. Can they possibly hold a two-phase competition that begins with three, and then shifts into two ‘finalists’ during the second half of training camp?
Free agent Mitch Trubisky has been functioning as the starter since he got here, with rookie Kenny Pickett starting off at the bottom of the totem pole, but one would expect that to change early in training camp if Tomlin is serious about giving Pickett a chance to compete for the starting job.
So where does that leave Mason Rudolph? As the veteran of the roster, he’ll require the fewest amount of reps, but the familiar veteran getting few reps rarely works out in his favor—ask Landry Jones.