They say every good story has an unknown protagonist, and how many stories can you think of that didn’t start with the obvious? Haskins or Rudolph? It’s clear that the Steelers are interested in both quarterbacks, but will they choose one or the other? Last year, the Steelers went with a rookie quarterback for their Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots, who had to start Jacoby Brissett after an injury to Tom Brady. The rookie, Ben Roethlisberger, wasn’t a bad choice, either, as he threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown and ran for another.
The Steelers’ backup quarterback battle has come to a close, with the team making the surprise decision to go with Haskins over Rudolph. With the latter unable to get up to speed in the preseason, the team will go with Haskins, who has been named the starter over the veteran backup. But what does that mean for the Steelers’ 2019 season?
The Steelers have a backup quarterback controversy on their hands. Last weekend, the team traded for quarterback Landry Jones, who was cut by the Raiders in March. Since then, Jones has undergone a physical and passed, so he’s on his way to the Steelers. The reaction to the trade was mixed. Some fans were thrilled that Pittsburgh had landed a veteran quarterback, while others were upset that the team didn’t even give up a draft pick. On Monday, the Steelers announced that they had signed a player to the practice squad. He’s a former first round draft pick who’s been on the radar in recent years as a potential starter. There’s just one problem: the Steelers still have a backup to Landry Jones
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers uses quizzes and exams to evaluate his players.
Games, the ultimate football exam, take precedence over practice and his quizzes.
Dwayne Haskins excelled in his tests with successful two-minute drills and accuracy that he lacked in the summer sessions, but Mason Rudolph seemed to left the door open for Haskins with mental mistakes and missed passes to his receivers in 11 practices at Heinz Field.
However, both quarterbacks scored nearly the same on their first test at the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, leaving the fight for Ben Roethlisberger’s backup quarterback — and possible successor — far from over.
When asked how he did on Thursday’s exam, Rudolph replied, “That’s not for me to determine.” “That is a coaching choice, and it is far above my pay grade. There were some positive aspects and a handful of errors, as is typical. I need to tidy up and move on to bigger and greater things. Listen, if you’re excellent in this league, you’ll find a place at the table regardless of whatever club you’re on.”
On Saturday (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), see the 2020 Centennial Class ceremony in Canton, Ohio, followed by the 2021 HOF class induction on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN):
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Haskins went 8-of-13 for 54 yards and Rudolph completed 6 of 9 passes for 84 yards.
“I thought they did a nice job, particularly from a play clock standpoint,” Tomlin said. “New verbiage and things of that nature. First time in the stadium with a real play clock. It’s difficult for us to simulate in practice settings. I thought they did a nice job managing some of those things, but largely, I thought all of their performances were positive.”
Rudolph started and played for a quarter and a half on Thursday. He completed his first three passes, but his opening drive was cut short when he botched a handoff to Chase Claypool.
Rudolph said, “It was intended to be a handoff.” “All I have to do now is get it into his sweet spot, his bread basket, and move the ball around.”
Rudolph’s best pass of the day came in the second quarter, when he hit Claypool on the sideline for 45 yards. Claypool dived for the ball and took a long time to get off the field. After the game, Tomlin said that the second-year receiver was OK. Rudolph’s 45-yard completion was the longest by any quarterback on either side, but it was the only time the Cowboys’ defensive strategy allowed receivers open deep.
The drive came to a halt when Rudolph passed behind James Washington on third down, his last play of the evening, and Sam Sloman missed a 49-yard field goal.
Rudolph remarked, “It was wonderful to be back.” “In general, preseason games. Overall, I need to improve, and I need to complete drives. I know we need to put more points on the board, but I felt the overall quality of the effort was where we wanted to be when we were out there.”
Haskins took over at the end of the second quarter and continued into the third, leading two scoring drives but lacking some of the wow factor that made him stand out early in training camp.
In his first preseason action with the Steelers on Thursday, Dwayne Haskins completed 8 of 13 passes for 54 yards. Getty Images/Emilee Chinn
He led a touchdown drive, which was completed by Kalen Ballage’s 4-yard run up the gut, and another drive that resulted in a field goal. On third down, he completed three of four throws for 13 yards, but none of them were converted. He also had a 4.2 yard per attempt average, far behind Rudolph’s 9.3 and lived true to Tomlin’s moniker for him during camp.
Haskins described the competitive atmosphere of the Steelers’ camp on Tuesday, saying, “Coach Tomlin calls me Checkdown because he wants to see whether I can throw the ball down the field.”
Tomlin, on the other hand, loved what he saw from Haskins in his debut game with the Steelers.
He remarked, “I loved his attitude.” “I felt he was a fantastic communicator,” I said. I felt he was alert and thoughtful, which is how you want the quarterback position to be.”
While the backup quarterback competition seems to be a two-man battle, Josh Dobbs made a splash Thursday by throwing the game’s lone touchdown pass to Tyler Simmons for a 5-yard gain in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, he completed 4-of-6 passes for 37 yards.
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Tomlin stated, “He’s been with us previously and done similarly when given the chance.” “This man isn’t going to give up without a fight. You keep asking me about Rudolph and Haskins, and I tell you what, he’s not going anywhere.”
Most veterans with definite roster places will use the preseason as a dress rehearsal, but that isn’t the case for the quarterbacks behind Roethlisberger. Rudolph was the lone quarterback under contract for 2022 entering the 2021 season, and he looked to be the strong favorite to keep his position as the main backup.
Haskins, on the other hand, does not agree.
Asked if there was an open competition for the No. 2 spot two days before the Hall of Fame game, Haskins made his intentions clear.
“Hopefully,” he replied, “I’m trying to make it one.”
There are two quarterbacks who have been brought to this point more often than not in the Steelers’ last three seasons, Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. As the Steelers begin camp with their two quarterbacks, the Haskins vs. Rudolph debate goes on. Who are the best quarterback options for the Steelers?. Read more about dwayne haskins and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- dwayne haskins
- pittsburgh steelers roster
- troy polamalu
- mason rudolph contract
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