The Pittsburgh Steelers have quite a preseason battle on their hands at backup quarterback. The ongoing tussle between the incumbent backup Joshua Dobbs, and the challenger Mason Rudoph has the fan base split. Some are rooting for Dobbs to hold down the fort, lauding his dual threat capabilities. Others view Rudolph as the heir to the Steelers’ quarterback throne after Ben Roethlisberger retires.
Either way, fans are hoping this battle is something which only impacts the preseason. Why? Because any playing time these two players will see during the regular season means Roethlisberger is missing time, and we all can agree the Steelers’ best chance of winning it all in the near future revolve around No. 7 staying healthy.
Nonetheless, the team’s new No. 1 wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster sees plenty of growth and development happening between both quarterbacks. When asked if he has noticed any difference in Rudolph and Dobbs this year, here was his response
“Dobbs is always running. He can run with those legs. Mason, as you know, he just throws dimes. It’s two quarterbacks who have been here last year and we’ve watched them just grow over a period of time. They’re always competing and doing the right things.”
Throughout the preseason, both Dobbs and Rudolph have shown flashes of brilliance, and moments of the struggles playing quarterback at the professional level. But if you look closely, you will see Rudolph has taken some huge strides from Year 1 to Year 2. This isn’t to take away from Dobbs’ ability, but the main knocks on Rudolph were typically his lack of mobility, slow processing, lack of arm strength and struggles being under center.
Throughout two preseason games, Rudolph has shown better mobility/pocket presence, an ability to go through his progressions quickly, increased arm strength and no fumbles that plagued him as a rookie. In other words, he is coming into his own as a quarterback.
Dobbs’ calling card is still his dual threat ability. When things break down, he will tuck it and run. This isn’t a bad thing, but there are times when Dobbs might have more time to hit a player down field, but instead his instincts to run take over. Through two preseason weeks, Dobbs has turned into a boom or bust type quarterback. Whether it is a long run, or a big passing play, the next throw could be an ugly miss, or an interception.
Two different quarterbacks, two different styles and two players all aiming for the lone spot behind Ben Roethlisberger. Who will win the battle? Only time will tell, but expect Dobbs to enter the game on Sunday night after Roethlisberger leaves, considering Mike Tomlin tends to go back-and-forth between Dobbs and Rudolph when it comes to when they enter the game.
If we all agree it is still an open competition, who do you think has the lead in this race? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason.