In an interview with Missi Matthews during their practice on Wednesday, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner answered questions about several of the Steelers’ offensive players. The players outlined are ones Coach Fichtner was specifically asked about in regards to their play so far in 2019 and expectations for the game on Sunday.
Nothing official as of yet but Mike Tomlin Told me Ben Roethlisberger is, “readying himself just like everyone anticipating to play,” for Sunday nights dress rehearsal game in Nashville. #Steelers— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) August 21, 2019
Finally taking the field for the first time in the Steelers 2019 preseason, Ben Roethlisberger will see limited action on Sunday. Coach Fichtner was asked why they needed to see Roethlisberger at all for such a small sample in the preseason.
“I don’t know if it’s that we have to see him, it’s that the group has to come together. They all want to be together. They practice together. We put a lot of good work in the spring. These guys want to compete. They really want to play. So we getting him in a good situation where he can start the game, prepare all week like it’s a real game because it is a real football game when we get to kickoff, and at some point we’ll pull him. And then we’ll start pulling some other guys.”
One player specifically involved in a lot of conversation in regards to his play this preseason is wide receiver James Washington. Coach Fichtner was asked about how 2019 will be different for Washington after he had a strong preseason last year which did not carry over into the regular season.
“I’ve seen it developing. I’ve seen a better conditioned athlete, a much knowledgeable player at his position now. I don’t see the angst of maybe not knowing or cutting it loose because you’re not sure. He’s very sure right now. He’s very confident in what he’s doing, and we have a lot of confidence in him.”
Joshua Dobbs & Mason Rudolph
Dobbs' night is over. Devlin 'Duck' Hodges enters the game with 10:10 left.— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) August 18, 2019
Dobbs: 6-11, 95 yards, INT; 1 rush, 5 yards
Rudolph: 10-15, 77 yards #Steelers
With the competition for the role of back-up quarterback heating up, some believe one player may hold an advantage over the other at this point. Whether you believe Mason Rudolph or Joshua Dobbs is in the drivers seat is irrelevant as the Steelers have given no indication as to which player is the front runner. Coach Fichtner was asked about if it was truly a competition between Dobbs and Rudolph for the back-up quarterback job.
“I think we were pretty open about that communication from the spring. It is an open competition. I’m trying the make sure that equally they get put in situations with the first group, with end of half situations, for potential of two-minute drives, of end of game situations, coming out at the end of the halftime and starting a third quarter. So, uniquely, we plan for these guys to have the reps and obviously we evaluate every week.”
Fichtner was then asked what he has seen for both Dobbs and Rudolph.
“They’re both different types of quarterbacks. Josh (Dobbs) is very mobile and he’s not afraid to break it down with his legs. He’s made some really big plays for us. Mason (Rudolph) has done a nice job improving in the pocket passing, the pocket movement, delivery of the football, and making better decisions. I told them in the beginning that protecting the ball will be as important as anything so it’s something that we have to continually do and they know that. I think they’ve done really a good job in the competition because they help each other, too. And they’re good professionals, they’re both trying to get better for the good of the Pittsburgh Steelers first, and then for them second. And I’m proud of that.”
Randy Fichtner ’s full interview can be seen here: