On Wednesday afternoon, Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert joined radio host Mark Madden on 105.9 the X. Madden and Colbert discussed numerous issues with the Steelers, ranging from preparation to for this year‘s draft to the Steelers current situation at a variety of positions.
One particular position Madden inquired of Colbert was about the Steelers quarterback situation. Madden brought up how numerous media organizations are continuing to talk about the Steelers quarterback position and a possible addition whether it was through the draft or free agency. Madden asked Colbert directly if the Steelers ever intended to change anything at the position this offseason.
“No,” Colbert replied, choosing not to mince words. The Steelers GM then went on to explain their philosophy at the quarterback position and how it has evolved throughout Ben Roethlisberger‘s time in Pittsburgh.
“Look, throughout Ben’s career this whole situation has changed and I’ve spoken about it. When Ben was a young player, we chose to have more experienced players behind him. As he matured and moved along in his career, we always wanted to have a young, ascending player. We’ve done that with Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs. And now with…”
In one of the more comical moments of the interview, Colbert struggled to remember the name of the Steelers current back up quarterback— Mason Rudolph. With some help from Madden, Colbert made light of the situation.
“Don’t tell Mason I forgot about him,” Colbert laughed.
With the interview going out live across the airways and available through various platforms, I can safely include the quote without feeling I have breached the confidence of the Steelers front office.
Colbert continued to discuss the Steelers’ depth at quarterback both for the 2019 season and how it is shaping up to help the team in 2020.
“In Mason’s situation, we felt good about what he was able to do last year, as well as Devlin (Hodges). Those two guys were put in a tough situation. They made the best of what they could do. Again, we talk about Mason’s record was 5-3 and Devlin’s record was 3-3 as starters. Could we have won more? Could we have won less? Sure. There was all kind of different factors that went into that. But we were comfortable with it last year and we’re comfortable with it this year.”
Although Colbert seems to acknowledge the Steelers offense was quite anemic at times in 2019, he also appears to understand that replacing a Super Bowl-winning quarterback is not an easy task for a young player to step in and thrive. When employing a quarterback the level of Ben Roethlisberger, especially at this point in his career, it is difficult to not have a huge drop off to the next player. The gap in production on the depth chart is not necessarily a reflection of the other players as much as it is the excellence of Ben Roethlisberger.
Colbert went on to discuss Roethlisberger‘s return and the Steelers expectations for the 2020 season.
“And we’re even more comfortable in really believing that Ben will come out of this in a more healthy manner and maybe even as a better player. Sometimes you take a full year off, and sure they’ll be some rest, but with his years experience that won’t be too big of an issue once he gets up and running in a practice setting. He’ll have a year of rest on his legs and his body and we’re comfortable that his arm will recover and he’ll be who he was and maybe even more than.”
With the return of Roethlisberger, Colbert is hopeful the other young quarterbacks on the depth chart can continue to grow, including former first round pick Paxton Lynch.
“But in the meantime,” Colbert concluded, “We hope that Mason and Devlin continue to show some improvement as well as a guy like Paxton Lynch who has first-round talent. We didn’t really get to see him because we got him later last year.”
The Steelers have not wavered in their confidence in the quarterback room for 2020 throughout the NFL draft or free agency. As long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and playing, the back-up position can be used to help grow and develop a young quarterback. Should Rothlisberger be unable to play for an extended period at any point in the season, don’t be surprised if the Steelers look to free agency to help the position at that time.
The entire interview between Mark Madden and Kevin Colbert can be heard on iHeartRadio.