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Thread: Who will back up Big Ben this year?

  1. #1

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    Who will back up Big Ben this year?

    Analysis: Who will back up Ben Roethlisberger in 2019?

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    MAR 7, 2019

    The Steelers have one of the oldest quarterbacks in the NFL in Ben Roethlisberger, who turned 37 on March 2. Only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning are older among starting quarterbacks.

    But they also have one of the youngest quarterback rooms in the league. And one of the cheapest, despite the new contract Roethlisberger is expected to sign any day now.

    Backups Joshua Dobbs, who is 24, and Mason Rudolph, 23, will count only $1.675 million against the 2019 salary cap, which is approximately one-third of the $5 million roster bonus Roethlisberger is due March 15.

    But, unlike last year, when Dobbs and Rudolph were in competition with incumbent backup Landry Jones to see which two quarterbacks would be kept on the 53-man roster, there will be no such battle in training camp this season.

    The only competition will be to see if Rudolph, a third-round pick in 2018, can move ahead of Dobbs as the No. 2 quarterback.

    If he does, it will not be as big as the surprise last year when Dobbs went from being in danger of not making the team to being Roethlisberger’s top backup. And making one of the biggest throws of the season in Baltimore.

    “Josh Dobbs did an awesome job last year,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. “He really forced his way onto the roster and into the No. 2 spot with his play in the preseason. The play he made in Baltimore, throwing out of the end zone, basically gave us a big first down which helped us win that game.”

    The Steelers did not envision Dobbs as an heir apparent when they drafted him on the fourth round in 2017. But when he completed a 22-yard pass on second-and-20 from his own 5-yard line in Baltimore — the first pass of his NFL career — he showed the Steelers he might have the calm and poise to be a starter. Conversely, when he had to come in for an injured Roethlisberger in Oakland and generated just two first downs on four possessions, it gave a glimpse of what life might be like without their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

    Rudolph could be a different story.

    The Steelers moved up in the third round to draft him — they were going to take Rudolph in the second round until they traded Martavis Bryant and suddenly needed a wide receiver — because they wanted to protect themselves in case Roethlisberger started hinting at retirement again.

    “Mason Rudolph had a really good preseason,” Colbert said. “Typical rookie mistakes when you look at his statistics over the course of the preseason, but it was still very good.”

    But, if the Steelers believe Rudolph to be their quarterback of the future, then at some point it would make sense to elevate him to the No. 2 spot.

    “It is great to have two young quarterbacks in the waiting, and it’s not only good for us but it’s good for them because the less they have to play at a young age usually the better their careers are,” Colbert said. “We think we got two young guys who will continue to develop.”

    But when will they need them, barring injury?

    Roethlisberger is coming off a season in which he led the league in passing attempts, completions and yards, proof his arm and game are as strong as ever. But he also led the league in interceptions with 16. That number, though, is a result of so many attempts. His interception percentage of 2.4 tied for fourth lowest of his 15-year career.

    The Steelers believe Roethlisberger will play at least two more seasons. The possibility of him playing until he is 40 will be reflected in his new contract. Might he play as long as Tom Brady, who will be 42 in August? Who knows, but former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, a two-time Super Bowl winner, thinks he can.

    “That’s the great thing about being a quarterback — we’re not a running back where you need a certain amount of speed,” Simms said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in December. Simms played 15 seasons with the Giants until he retired at age 38. “I thought in my last year, I thought I threw it as well as any point in my career. That’s why when I see quarterbacks come in the league early I don’t judge them too harshly. They figure out how to throw the ball better.”

    Simms also thinks the way the game has changed, with the evolution of modern-day offenses, keeps older quarterbacks such as Roethlisberger interested and inspired.

    “When you talk about getting old as a quarterback, you get tired of the mundane and all the things that go with it,” Simms said. “You get tired of hearing how you have to form the huddle. When I was in New York, I’d go, ‘OK, I heard that 7,000 times.’ But when the new stuff comes in it’s invigorating.

    “That’s what [older quarterbacks] have going for them. The NFL has changed so much, with so much innovation, so many new players, that’s got to be stimulating.”

    The Steelers certainly hope that’s the case for several more years.

  2. #2
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    I hope it’s rudolph because I believe him to have a higher ceiling. I don’t have any stats or reasoning other than a hunch. I like them both.

    But of course, for now, this offense goes as Ben goes....

  3. #3
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    Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater
    2013 MNF Executive Champion!

    2021 Mock Draft
    1. Jamie Newman, QB, UGA
    2. Jabril Cox, ILB, LSU

  4. #4
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    I would like to see it be Rudolph....but it'll be Dobbs.
    Trey Lance, QB; North Dakota State
    Alex Leatherwood, OT; Alabama
    Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida
    Jamie Newman, QB; Georgia

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  6. #6
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    Let them battle it out and whoever is better gets the helmet on Sundays. I think both can be good backups. The question we all want the answer to is can either be a quality starter when 7 hangs them up.

  7. #7
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    Brogan Roback

  8. #8

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    We all know who we want to back Ben up; but let's just see how it plays out.
    From the 2010-2019 season, (A 9 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks.
    Dolphin fans in the 90’s who wanted to hold on to Don Shula for what he did in the 70’s...

    Are the same as Steeler fans (of 2020 ) holding on to Tomlin for what he did in 2008.


  9. #9
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    If Dobbs doesn't improve significantly from last yr and Rudolph can't take the #2 away the Steelers might have to keep looking for their QB of the Future.
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...!!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SidSmythe View Post
    If Dobbs doesn't improve significantly from last yr and Rudolph can't take the #2 away the Steelers might have to keep looking for their QB of the Future.
    I don’t think it has to be significant improvement.

    Dobbs biggest issue is consistency IMO. I also think he is similar to Cam Newton in that he needs to run once or twice early to get comfortable. The guy has wheels so use them to his advantage.

    I agree with you on Mason. If he can’t beat out Dobbs this year he isn’t the answer.


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