The Steelers 2019 preseason is now in the books. In regards to the Week 4 loss in Carolina, some players made a case for inclusion on the Steelers’ 53-man roster while others gave reason to be left out of the process. Since the starters did not play, the only telling statistics are for shaping the bottom of the 2019 regular-season roster.
In my earlier Crunching the Numbers article, I broke down how many roster spots were realistically available for players fighting to make the team Thursday night. With that in mind, let’s look at actual statistics from Week 4 to help determine if any players helped to make their case for the 53-man roster.
7/11, 125, 1 TD
While he was not considered a roster bubble player coming into the game, Mason Rudolph more than made his case to secure the back-up quarterback role behind Ben Roethlisberger for the 2019 season. In his three drives, not only did Rudolph lead the Steelers to their only offensive touchdown of the game, he did not have a drive which ended with a punt. While the first series concluded with a missed 47-yard field goal, Rudolph’s next two drives ended with a sucessful field goal attempt and a 31-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Holton.
While Rudolph continued to have command of the Steelers’ offense, both Joshua Dobbs and Devlin Hodges were far from impressive. With Dobbs struggling early and only completing 3 of 5 passes for 21 yards, Hodges did not take advantage of his opportunity either. Finishing 10 of 20 for 73 yards and an interception, neither quarterback stood out as a player the Steelers couldn’t live without in 2019.
8 for 12
To say the hype around “ Benny Snell Football” coming into Steelers training camp has led to quite a disappoint would be an understatement. After finishing Thursday night with 12 yards rushing on 8 carries, Snell has totaled 54 yards on 28 carries in the three preseason games in which he has played. With an average yards per carry of less than 2.0, it’s a good thing Snell can play special teams or else he wouldn’t even be in the discussion for a roster spot.
Tuzar Skipper continued to make a case Thursday night for his inclusion on the Steelers 53-man roster. Registering another two sacks against the Panthers, Skipper has 5.0 throughout the preseason. Since he finally logged some snaps on special teams for the first time on Thursday, to leave Skipper off of the 53-man roster would be quite disappointing to many.
2 for 22
One of the beloved players by Steeler’s fans this preseason has been WR/KR Diontae Spencer. Not registering a catch since preseason Week 1 against Tampa Bay, it has been difficult to include Spencer on the 53-man roster because of his lack of production as a receiver. Thursday night he caught back-to-back passes at the end of the game leading up to the two-minute warning. While many fans love his speed especially in the return game, a total of 4 catches for 39 yards in four games is not the statistics which make it impossible to expose a player to waivers in an attempt to place them on the practice squad. Add in the fact he did not get a chance to return a punt in Week 4, it would take more than the numbers from his production to argue using a spot on the roster for Spencer.
So there are some numbers to help evaluate some Steelers players in the fourth game of the 2019 preseason. Did these numbers help in shaping the Steelers’ 53-man roster? Was there another performance not listed which really stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below!