The Pittsburgh Steelers opened their preseason last night, facing off against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. In true preseason form, few projected starters for the upcoming season played, and if they did, they did briefly. Here are 5 takeaways from Preseason Week One:
1. The Pittsburgh Steelers Backup Quarterback Situation Is Far From Resolved.
Ben Roethlisberger is close to retirement, but the rest of the team’s future is blooming. Despite this, a good NFL team needs a good quarterback. When Roethlisberger retires, his successor will have used their prior preseasons to compete against the pack. That successor is Landry jones, Josh Dobbs, or Mason Rudolph. Jones has been the backup for a few seasons. He started yesterday’s game and threw a 72-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Shuster. Granted, it was a free play after an obvious offside call on the Eagles defensive line.
Then Josh Dobbs had two touchdown drives, one passing touchdown and an interception. Mason Rudolph led the Steelers to three scoring drives, but zero touchdowns as they scored nine points in the second half, all Chris Boswell field goals. Here’s why we still don’t know who will be the backup:
LANDRY JONES threw a bomb touchdown-yes, but he didn’t complete a pass on the first two drives of the game. They both were go-nowhere drives that ended in Jordan Berry punts.
JOSH DOBBS threw an interception-yes, but he led the second string to two touchdown drives and an awesome touchdown pass to undrafted Wide Receiver Damoun Patterson, who celebrated the TD pass with a backflip.
MASON RUDOLPH didn’t have a touchdown-yes, though he did lead the team to three scoring drives while playing with third string players. That in itself is impressive. He also made a highlight-reel pass to Oklahoma State teammate James Washington. All three quarterbacks had positives and negatives, none supremely outweighed the others. This backup quarterback situation is far from over. It’ll be exciting to watch it develop the next three weeks.
2. Quadree Henderson Needs More Time To Show He Is The Return Man.
Last night was Quadree Henderson’s biggest football game. Ever. It surpasses the upset wins vs. Clemson and Miami he had roles in at Pitt. Those were great games. He played like an MVP. Now he is an undrafted wide receiver looking to fill a major role as the Steelers return-man.
At Pitt he had four kickoff-return TD’s and three Punt Return TD’s in three seasons. Those numbers are great. The chances he had in last night’s game were not. He started in the return-man role where he had two short returns and called a fair catch. He needs more chances in the next three games. Expect him to remain in the starter role all preseason long. Every one of those games will be his Super Bowl. He’s an ambitious kid who wants to make big money plays. He needs more time to show it.
3. Backflips In The Preseason Are Like Trophies For Last Place Teams. https://youtu.be/_svlUEUcJ5o
It was a nice pass, a better catch, and the feeling Damoun Patterson, the undrafted WR from Youngstown State, had was probably unlike anything he ever felt. He made a Pro-Bowler type catch in a humongous game where he went 6/10 for 77 yards while trying to make the team. A backflip? Really? Is that necessary? Not in the preseason. End of story.
4. It’s Too Early To Read The Defense.
Tackling was a rough factor for the Steelers. Backups were in, but you need to be able to bring down the ball carrier. Turnovers were fun to see in this preseason game and a Cameron Sutton interception was a sight Steelers fan’s hope to see more of as the season continues. Ups and downs in Preseason Week One. Time will tell what is to come.
5. The Wizard of Boz Hasn’t Missed A Beat.
Kicker Chris Boswell is perhaps the best Kicker in franchise history. He had three field goals and three PAT’s yesterday. The leg doesnt lie. He is working on a long term contract with the Steelers and fans will rejoice. Even in the preseason, Boswell is THE man.
FOOTBALL IS BACK!
Yinzers rejoice! It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Steeler Nation already believes this is the year they ascend the Stairway to Seven. As the theme has been today, time will tell…