Dwayne Haskins crashing back down to Earth is medicine Steelers needed to take

In his first real matchup against a starting-caliber defense in years, Dwayne Haskins fell well short of expectations.

The Steelers don’t have another starting-caliber quarterback on the roster minus Ben Roethlisberger, and don’t let Mike Tomlin or any deranged fan tell you otherwise.

As good as Mason Rudolph and especially Haskins have looked at times this preseason — it’s still rather meaningless football against a number of players who will barely make an NFL roster. Haskins narrowly out-performed Rudolph against worse defenses, but now that he’s been given an opportunity to shine against starters in Carolina, it hasn’t gone according to plan.

Haskins’ inability to make consistent throws on the run is a clear weakness of his, and one opposing defenses can exploit. A rather simple dump-off became a game-changing (preseason, mind you) interception. And this is nothing new for this former first-round pick. It haunted him in Washington as well.

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement isn’t on the roster

As convenient as it would be for Big Ben’s replacement to be waiting in the wings, neither Rudolph nor Haskins has shown in extended playing time that they deserve that chance. The Steelers may still provide them with one next season, assuming Roethlisberger retires, if another option doesn’t present itself. But that doesn’t mean sticking with the current QB room is a legitimate, plausible decision.

Rudolph isn’t much better, but he still remains a more capable backup, which says a lot about what the Steelers see from Haskins consistently in practice. If he cannot outperform Rudolph, he should not be sniffing the field with No. 1 unit in Pittsburgh.

Perhaps, with more reps and opportunity this season, Haskins can develop facets of his game that are sorely lacking at this juncture. But if anything, Friday night proved the need for a redshirt year of sorts.

Published at Sat, 28 Aug 2021 00:40:32 +0000

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