Not only are the Pittsburgh Steelers returning to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA this July, but they are preparing for something they never had before — a three-game preseason plan.
If you recall, the Steelers and Dallas Cowboys faced each other in the Hall of Fame game last season, giving them four preseason games in total. While the other 30 NFL teams had to adjust to a 3-game roster of preseason games, the Steelers and Cowboys had their traditional allotment.
In the past, the Steelers have handled their 4-game preseason like this:
Game 1: Very few starters play
Game 2: Beginners see a minimum playing time
Game 3: The last dress rehearsal
Game 4: Most of the starters sit as backups and compete for the final roster spots
This begs the question of how the Steelers and Mike Tomlin will use these games. Aside from the fact that they have one less preseason game, how will Tomlin handle the Steelers’ quarterback struggle during these exhibition games?
If Ben Roethlisberger were still at the helm, it would be a lot easier to outline how the team will use its starters; However, with Roethlisberger’s resignation, every thought is on the table.
For a sense of what other teams did last season, when the NFL increased the regular season to 17 games and cut the preseason to three games, look at the Steelers’ fourth and final preseason game a year ago on. It was a trio to Charlotte, NC to play the Carolina Panthers. The Steelers’ third stringers were blown out 34-9, and that was largely because the Panthers used the third game as their final dress rehearsal.
In the game, Sam Darnold finished 19/25 for 162 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT and a 119.1 rating. Meanwhile, the two backup quarterbacks made just 17 tries when Darnold left the game. Compare that to the Steelers, who only played two quarterbacks, Joshua Dobbs, who finished the day 6/11 for 35 yards before leaving with an injury, and the late Dwayne Haskins, who went 9/16 for 105 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT finished.
Yes, these games are meaningless, but coaches value these games. Additionally, with teams like the Steelers busy with their lineup, one wonders what the plan will be when preseason begins.
So what do you think? Let us know how you would handle the 3-game preseason in the comments section below, and in case you forgot, below is the team’s preseason schedule:
Week 1: against the Seattle Seahawks
week 2: with the Jacksonville Jaguars
week 3: against Detroit Lions
Be sure to keep BTSC updated for the latest Steelers news and notes as they gear up for the rest of the offseason and prepare to report to training camp on July 26.