KEY STORYLINES OUT OF THE PRESEASON FINALE
Rudolph outshines Dobbs
Mason Rudolph showed continued growth all preseason that’s what should have been expected for a 24 year old 2nd year quarterback the Steelers took with a third round pick and who the organization claims they had a first-round grade on.
The good thing is Rudolph looked the part this preseason of a No. 2 QB. What the Steelers have long-term in Rudolph, if anything, is an obvious unknown, but Rudolph has taken what he was given and ran with it this preseason.
Selecting Rudolph where they did, this was always a down the road situation of let’s take a chance and try to develop him into a legitimate NFL starter by age 26 or 27. That optimism is still alive based on what Rudolph has put on tape this summer.
In the immediate, are the Steelers 100% confident in Rudolph’s abilities to be the sure-fire No. 2 QB this season in the event of a Ben Roethlisberger injury? Filling up the stat sheet has been nice but winning the QB job for this season was always going to come down to gaining the coaching staff’s trust over Josh Dobbs on not which QB is best positioned to win them games for a 3-4 game stretch, but which QB gives them the best chance if Ben Roethlisberger gets an in-game injury similar to the Oakland game last year.
The thinking continues to be that Rudolph has won the job and will be named the No. 2 QB on Monday, but there has been whispers that Dobbs is still the QB this staff trusts in a crunch situation. It was interesting during the telecast when going into halftime just after Mason Rudolph had a solid half, Mike Tomlin in a quick sideline interview, took the opportunity to criticize Rudolph taking a sack with under two minutes.
Benny Snell’s Roster Spot in Question
— The storyline with the running back situation as cut day looms is whether 4th round pick Benny Snell is training camp and done? A 4th round pick almost always gets a one-year window but Snell’s roster spot is considered somewhat up in the air. Snell has looking nothing like an NFL back, the Steelers really like Trey Edmunds as a special teams player who has outperformed Snell, so this has become one of the more intriguing final decisions.
Snell likely still makes the roster by default, but when you’re a team with Super Bowl Aspirations, you don’t lose sleep over cutting a 4th round running back who hasn’t looked the part.
Johnny Holton In, Eli Rogers Out?
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington and Diontae Johnson who won’t be part of the mix early in the season are the four locks at WR. The Steelers love them some Ryan Switzer who has ran camp and the preseason as the primary slot receiver/punt returner, making what should be 5 locks at WR.
The final spot has come down to Johnny Holton who showed big play ability in the preseason and slot receiver Eli Rogers.
And everything screams Holton here because of his presence as a gunner on special teams.
Tight End Depth Is Frightening
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had the look all summer of a re-energized team and top to bottom this is a deep roster, some evaluators believe it’s a top-5 roster in quality. John Clayton one of the best in the business, was on 937 The Fan Thursday and called the Steelers roster more talented than New England’s and he’s not the only one out there who feels that way.
However, if there’s one position that has to be addressed via the waiver wire, it’s the tight end depth. With Vance McDonald’s injury problems the depth is frightening behind him as this is going to be a development year for No. 3 tight end Zach Gentry and Xavier Grimble is a complete unknown on whether he can handle the No. 2 tight end spot.
Haden Contract Extension talks going down to the wire
The Joe Haden contract talks [hide] are going right down to the Steelers imposed deadline. There’s been optimism for weeks it would eventually get done as the sides are close and GM Kevin Colbert continued to express some of that optimism Thursday night when appearing on the KDKA telecast.
“What I can say is we’d love to see Joe Haden finish his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” GM Kevin Colbert said on KDKA. “We’ve still got some time to try to maybe work something out but I think Joe would love to finish his career here. When both sides have the same agenda and same purpose, it usually would get done, so hopefully we can get that taken care of.”[/hide]