The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed quarterback Zach Mettenberger off waivers yesterday after he was released by the San Diego Chargers.
Zach Mettenberger’s arrival in Pittsburgh was a surprise to many, and a pleasant one to the majority. While his signing meant Bruce Gradkowski‘s placement on the IR, it also meant that the Steelers had a quarterback with starting experience to turn to if Roethlisberger does go down, and Landry Jones can’t muster up the performance Pittsburgh needs.
Right now, it’s very likely that Mettenberger will be the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, assuming he can win out the job against other quarterbacks on the roster like Dustin Vaughan and Byrn Renner. Whichever of the three prove the most worthy will take the job that Gradkowski would’ve likely filled if he hadn’t been injured.
Mettenberger is still very young, entering his 3rd season after being drafted in 2014 by Tennessee in the 6th round. Additionally, he’s also had a lot of playing time for a 6th round draft pick as young as him. He’s played in a total of 14 games, and started quite a few in Tennessee’s miserable 2-14 season in 2014.
As a rookie, Mettenberger started 6 games, losing all of them, but didn’t play atrociously. In that span, Mettenberger threw 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, completed nearly 60% of his passes, and threw for almost 1,500 yards. Overall, it was by no means a star performance, but for a rookie 6th round pick, it really wasn’t too bad.
Following the season, there was a whole ordeal when the Titans drafted their future quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Mettenberger demanded a trade, but the whole fiasco ended with Mettenberger remaining with the Titans for the next season.
With Mariota suffering a couple injuries throughout the year, Mettenberger found himself starting in 4 games. In that time, he did not fair as well as he did in 2014 tossing only 4 touchdowns to a similar 7 interceptions. Following the season, Mettenberger was cut.
After joining the Chargers on a short stint, and playing in one preseason game (where he went 2-8 passing, and threw an interception), he was waived and now finds himself in a potential 3rd string position with Pittsburgh.
Not long ago, it would have been a very offensive proposal to the Mettenberger that believed he was the destined starter in Tennessee, but it could be his last opportunity to showcase his talent.
Mettenberger has a lot of experience for a young player, and that experience could make him a very valuable backup. While he hasn’t had the most illustrious career so far, he’s also flashed potential at other times.
It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out for Mettenberger in Pittsburgh. His stay could be as short as a week, but could end up being a valuable backup down the road for the team.