Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media on Wednesday morning ahead of their final preseason matchup against the Carolina Panthers Friday night. In the press conference, Coach Tomlin stated Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins would get the start against the Panthers.
In today's press conference, Coach Tomlin said that Dwayne Haskins will start at QB against the Panthers on Friday. pic.twitter.com/zk7jcIUIF5— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 25, 2021
While many Steelers fans were hoping to see Dwayne Haskins playing with other first team players, it appears this move is not as much about Haskins as it is the other Steelers quarterbacks. As reported by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Coach Tomlin also stated that neither Ben Roethlisberger nor Mason Rudolph will play on Friday night.
Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph won’t play in Carolina.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 25, 2021
So far in the 2021 preseason, Haskins has appeared in all three of the Steelers games. Playing a total of 88 offensive snaps, Haskins has completed 28 passes on 42 attempts for a 66.7% completion percentage. In all, Haskins has passed for 271 yards and has thrown one touchdown with no interceptions.
While some assume this means Mason Rudolph has locked in the backup quarterback position, in 2018 the Steelers did not play the presumed backup Landry Jones in the final preseason game and ended up releasing him days later. So the fact Rudolph is not playing in this game does not mean that he should instantly be anointed the number two quarterback, although it is one indication the Steelers are continuing in that direction.
Exactly which players will be on the field along side with Haskins to start the game on Friday night remains to be seen. Coach Tomlin stated many of their regulars will not see action, although he does expect Carolina to play their regular players.
Coach Tomlin said many of the regulars won’t play on Friday night, but he expects Carolina to play their regulars so it will be a good test.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 25, 2021
While we may be able to assume a number of players who will not be on the field, Coach Tomlin did not give an extensive list. One other player he did mention by name who will not see the field is 2021 first-round draft pick Najee Harris. Per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harris will not play in the fourth preseason game and the Steelers will instead look to Benny Snell Jr. who will be getting his first action of the preseason.
Tomlin said early in the preseason he intended to use Harris in every preseason game. But he changed his mind and he will not play in Carolina. Benny Snell, who has played sparingly in the preseason because of injury, will start.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 25, 2021
With 16 days between the Steelers final preseason contest and when they kick off in Week 1 against the Bills in Buffalo, the Steelers are continuing to evaluate how their 53-man roster will come together next Tuesday when final cuts must be made. In the meantime, both Steelers’ fans and coaches should be able to get an extended look at both Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for their final preseason game on Friday night.