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Steelers 2021 Training Camp Recap, Day 9: Is there a battle for the QB2 role?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.

What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.

Here we go...

Heading into the 2021 season it seemed as if it was a foregone conclusion who the starting and backup quarterback would be for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is the solidified starter, and Mason Rudolph was the backup.

The question here isn’t the starter, Roethlisberger’s resume speaks for itself, but is there actually a battle for the backup role?

When the Steelers signed Dwayne Haskins as a free agent this past offseason after his release from the Washington Football Team, many thought he would be battling Joshua Dobbs for the QB3 role on the depth chart. However, after a few weeks of training camp, it looks as if the coaching staff are keeping their options open for all positions after Roethlisberger.

This from Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

During mandatory minicamp, and the early stages of training camp, it was Haskins and Dobbs jockeying for reps. After Haskins has impressed to date, the coaching staff has been wanting to give him more of a look with the starters.

This is not just a new development, but also something to keep a close eye on as the Hall of Fame game vs. the Dallas Cowboys approaches next Thursday. Clearly, the best player will be appropriately placed on the depth chart, but the preseason will be extremely telling in many ways as it pertains to the Steelers’ quarterback situation.

Now time for all the other news and notes from Saturday’s practice...

Fan Fest

The Steelers had their Fan Fest Saturday, and it marked the largest crowd the Steelers have had this training camp at Heinz Field.

Returning Players

Time to check in on who practiced, and who didn’t, during Saturday’s padded practice. This was the second straight padded practice before the Steelers’ scheduled day off Sunday.

7 Shots

As always, the Steelers did their typical ‘7 Shots’ drill to start practice. In case you don’t know, this is when the ball is placed at the two yard line, and there are seven plays run from that line of scrimmage. Here is how things played out Saturday.

This felt important to me, and maybe just me, but James Pierre’s solid play has given him some looks on the outside with the starting defense. The ‘7 Shots’ drill opened up with Cam Sutton in the slot and Pierre on the outside. Just something to keep an eye on.

Open Field Drills

The Steelers did a lot of open field drills Saturday. Whether it was RB vs. LB or WR vs. CB, there were some notable plays from the session.


As they do with the pads on, the Steelers had some live 11-on-11 team periods. The offense struggled at times, but was able to cash in on some big plays by the end of practice.

Big Ben Update

With Najee Harris, Dwayne Haskins and T.J. Watt all being consistent storylines there hasn’t been as much talk surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. It was good to read about the veteran quarterback connecting on a big play to JuJu Smith-Schuster on a free play after drawing the defense offsides.

Bright spot

Speaking of big plays, on the very next play from scrimmage it was Roethlisberger under center and handing the ball off to Harris. Harris hit the hole and did the rest...all the way to the end zone. There might be some offensive struggles this season, but there will also be some big plays.

Old School Ben

To cap off practice the Steelers did the 2-minute drill. Friday’s practice saw Mason Rudolph with the starters, but Roethlisberger took the starter on Saturday. He drove them down the field for the score, but the way he capped it off was vintage Roethlisberger.

The bigger, the better

After practice Najee Harris mete with the media, and he explained how he doesn’t mind getting beat in the ‘backs on backers’ drill. He actually asks Mike Tomlin if he can get bigger bodies to block to make him better. To get more realistic repetitions.

Najee bulking up

Najee Harris is built different. In every possible way. Not only is he a football junkie, but he has also added about 8 pounds of muscle this offseason. Do you know many running backs who are listed at 240 pounds and roughly 6% body fat not named Derrick Henry? Me neither...

Who is along the line doesn’t matter

While the Steelers’ offense has struggled at times throughout training camp, it isn’t as if their starters have all be out there on a regular basis. Chuks Okorafor and Kevin Dotson just returned to live action drills Saturday, and Zach Banner has yet to fully return to practice. This has resulted in a mix-and-match approach along the offensive line blocking for Harris. Najee Harris doesn’t care, it is his job to make people miss and make plays.

Najee, ladies and gentlemen...

Harris isn’t just built different, he is a different guy both on and off the field. He is fun to listen to.

Joe Haden on the mic

Friday it was Mike Tomlin welcoming fans to Heinz Field, but Saturday it was Joe Haden who had those honors. Check out what he had to say to the large crowd which had gathered to see their beloved black and gold!

BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast