QB choice raises a few questions
PITTSBURGH — The Steelers had four quarterbacks for three spots, so one of them had to go.
Conventional wisdom held that Josh Dobbs would be headed out, probably traded for a draft pick.
Ben Roethlisberger was untouchable, of course. Landry Jones was thought to be in solid because he was the only other quarterback with NFL game experience.
The Steelers said they valued third-round pick Mason Rudolph as a worthy first-rounder, so he was staying.
That left Dobbs on the outside as the cuts were made. Pretty simple.
Except Dobbs had a big game on Thursday against Carolina. As much as everyone says that the fourth preseason game features guys who will soon be styling hair, repairing plumbing leaks and doing some substitute teaching, Dobbs’ work apparently impressed management.
Jones was the one cut, ending his three-year run as Roethlisberger’s backup.
The decision is probably this easy — Jones is 29 and he’s about as good as he’s ever going to get. Dobbs is 23 and there’s room for growth.
Maybe he never amounts to much in the NFL, but he still has a chance. Jones doesn’t.
Head coaches typically value experience above most other traits, so this decision is significant for that reason.
As Roethlisberger starts his 15th season at age 36, the day when he has to be replaced is drawing closer.
The Steelers likely made their decision with that in mind. Dobbs and Rudolph have potential to be a No. 1 quarterback.
Nobody ever said that about Landry Jones.
The Steelers weren’t the only team revamping its roster.
The Pirates made some moves that ran up the white flag on this season and started planning for 2019.
The most significant would be the trade of David Freese to the Dodgers. That effectively gets the Pirates out of the decision on the $6 million option/$500,000 buyout on his 2019 contract.
Freese had a decent year this season, mostly because the Pirates managed his playing time correctly. He slumped a bit in August, posting a .258 average with two home runs and 15 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances.
Freese had another value, too. He was one of the first players waiting to yell at Starling Marte when Marte dogged it recently in a game, a lapse that earned him a one-game sitdown.
Freese gets a chance to return to the postseason with the Dodgers while the Pirates clear a roster spot and save some money on a player who had no future here.
SUBHEAD: Sean gone
Earlier in the week, the Pirates released Sean Rodriguez, a move that delighted fans who had obsessed over the failures of the veteran utility player.
Make no mistake, Rodriguez was awful by any measure. You can’t even cook up obscure stats to suggest he had some value.
In all likelihood, that January 2017 car crash took more out of him physically than he ever realized. His hitting was terrible, and his defense declined, too.
But as bad as Rodriguez was — and yes he was — he wasn’t a major reason the Pirates haven’t done better this season.
It became a repeat of last year’s John Jaso scenario, where one player’s obvious failures were scapegoated.
If you need to know why the Pirates are currently under .500, look at the diminished production of Josh Bell and Josh Harrison and that week-long May meltdown Felipe Rivera had over four games.
A team is sunk by the failures of key players, not part-timers.
SUBHEAD: By the way…
Don’t worry about Landry Jones. He will find work elsewhere for years to come.
There’s good money to be made as a backup quarterback in the NFL.
(Mehno can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)