The unknown factor: The Steelers go into Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns like every team in the NFL, with unknowns.
For the Steelers, this will be the first game for Randy Fichtner as the team’s offensive coordinator, and the book on him is definitely unknown. And that is one unknown they will use to their advantage.
“I like that,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “I think sometimes there are challenges that comes with transition. There are also benefits, or unintended consequences in not being able to anticipate his rhythms, his nuances, or the things he holds near and dear, is part of the advantage of the transition.”
On the flip side the Steelers will face an offensive coordinator they are a bit familiar with. Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley was the Steelers offensive coordinator from 2012-17, and while there might be some familiarity with what he does, Tomlin isn’t focusing on that this week.
“You could play that he knows that I know that he knows that I know game,” said Tomlin. “Hopefully he plays it all week. I am going to just get ready to play a football game.”
Body of work: Tomlin said the decision to release Landry Jones wasn’t an easy one, but the body of work that Joshua Dobbs has put on tape, along with his strong performance against the Carolina Panthers, combined for him winning the position to back up Ben Roethlisberger.
“I was very straight forward when I talked about what the Carolina game meant and people’s ability to lean in and deliver above the line performance in spite of all of the anxiety or pressure associated with that performance,” said Tomlin. “It’s also a part of a larger body of work, not only for him, for all of them. He’s just an example of that.”
Not his words: While Dobbs was named the team’s No. 2 quarterback leading into the season, that doesn’t mean that Mason Rudolph will solely be getting scout team reps. Tomlin made that clear when asked how he plans on continuing to develop the rookie quarterback when the only reps he gets will be scout team.
“I am not suggesting he is only going to get scout team reps. That’s your words, not mine,” said Tomlin. “We are going to continue with his growth and development. That is our charge to do so. Not only him, but everybody within our football team. This is not a finished product as we kick out of the gates and start our season. We better continually be individuals and a group on the rise in all aspects of our game if we want to continue to be on the road as it gets increasingly narrow.”