The Steelers may look outside the organization for depth at the QB position
Obviously, this is a complete guess on my part, but after what the Steelers coaching staff witnessed in 2019, we may want to consider signing a veteran, free-agent quarterback. Someone like Mariota comes to mind. Here’s why: After ‘Big Ben’ went down and was done for the season, the offensive production went down with him.
The fact that the Steelers finished the 2019 season with an 8-8 record is amazing considering the sub-par QB play sans ‘Big Ben’. According to NFL.com, the Steelers offense finished 30th in average yards per game and 31st in average passing yards per game. That’s just putrid.
Had it not been for the Steelers defense, which, according to NFL.com, finished with the 5th best defense in the league, allowing an average of 304.1 yards per game, the 2019 season would have probably been a losing campaign.
Both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges played admirably, but neither one was really able to maintain any consistency on offense, particularly in the passing game. While Mariota’s career passing numbers are not stellar, 13,207 yards over five regular seasons, he threw only two INTs last year.
I realize the 2019 Tennessee Titans were a ‘power run’ team, but Mariota over the course of seven games, did throw the ball 160 times with the aforementioned two INTs and seven TDs. Mariota can also run when necessary, something that Rudolph can not do very well. Over five seasons, Mariota has run the ball 242 times for 1399 yards.
The ability to run when the situation calls for it is a dimension the Steelers will probably need in 2020, even if ‘Big Ben’ is completely healthy. Mariota could provide a ‘breather’ for our franchise QB. The Steelers could also install some packages specifically for Mariota that would cater to his skill set.
I am not suggesting that Mariota would be or could be the QB of the future, but since the Steelers have traditionally had a veteran back-up for ‘Big Ben’, why not take a flyer on Mariota and see what happens? Honestly, I don’t think he would command the kind of salary you would expect from the former number two overall selection in the 2015 draft.
Let’s continue our discussion by looking at why the Steelers may want to sign Bucannon.