With the Pittsburgh Steelers facing a bit of a controversy at the QB position for the first time in years, they must be very careful.
Mason Rudolph will be on the bench this week when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns. Backup quarterback Devlin Hodges will get the start after replacing Rudolph last week in Cincinnati. While many have called for Hodges to step in as Rudolph has struggled recently, this is a decision that must be made with both the short-term and the long-term in mind.
We are in an era where backup quarterbacks are unnecessarily thrust into game action, given the win-now mentality. Young quarterbacks, in particular, are being put in positions where it is almost impossible to succeed. Injuries, as the Steelers have been presented with, are one thing, but wishy-washy coaching is another. Look back over the last year or so to see other teams with quarterback controversies, and you would find examples of why the Steelers cannot afford to go back and forth between their two young signal-callers.
Last year in Arizona, the Cardinals, who had no realistic expectations of success, had established NFL quarterback Sam Bradford and first-round pick Josh Rosen. After signing a two-year deal worth $15 million guaranteed, Bradford went 0-3 and was benched for Rosen. He went 3-10 and is no longer with the team.
The Buccaneers also switched back and forth last year between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston, which ultimately lead to a 5-11 record. This year we have seen backups take over for starters in Miami (again involving Fitzpatrick and Rosen), Cincinnati, New York and Washington.
Overall, these teams that have created QB controversies this season have a combined record of 6-38, while the inexperienced players put into the games have a combined record of 3-13 to go along with a total of 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, not to mention the issue with fumbles some have had. These quarterbacks are not only being thrust into bad situations, but they are also constantly looking over their shoulders with the fear of being replaced, and it isn’t good for anyone.
The moral of the story is this: if the Steelers are going to make the switch to Hodges, then embrace it. If they truly feel they have seen what they need to see from Rudolph, then go with Hodges for the rest of the season. If this simply has something to do with the debacle in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, and they intend to go back to Rudolph, then stick with him for the season.
The Steelers are clinging to the second wild-card spot in the AFC, and they are, in a way, holding tryouts for these two to help determine the future after Big Ben. If Pittsburgh fails to recognize and learn from mistakes made by teams in the recent past, we could be looking at a botched season and two ruined quarterbacks.
Both Rudolph and Hodges have shown flashes, but to develop properly, they need consistency and help from those around them. These next few weeks could mean a lot more to the Pittsburgh Steelers than simply the 2019 playoff push.
Are the Steelers making the right call at quarterback? Leave your comments below!