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Open Mike: Tomlin Elaborates on QBs, Kickers Ahead of First Preseason Game



UNITY TWP, Pa. – As Ben Roethlisberger rests, Josh Dobbs will start Friday night when the Steelers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to open the preseason, Mike Tomlin confirmed Wednesday during his first preseason press conference.

Dobbs will start in place of Roethlisberger, while Mason Rudolph, who has been battling with Dobbs for the No. 2 quarterback position, is also expected to play a significant amount of time.

“We’ll continue to harden up some of our rotations in terms of who’s playing with and in what groups,” said Tomlin. “We’re working some two-minute football, getting the quarterbacks that could potentially be in the game, ready.”

Tomlin would not commit to playing undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges, but did offer some praise for the former FCS star.

“The moments out here haven’t been too big for him,” he said. “Obviously, the confines of a stadium are different. We’d like to get him some play, and we’ll see how the flow of the game goes. We’re working with the intention of doing that, but sometimes the game unfolds differently once you get inside stadiums.

“Those are the intentions. He’s been deserving of the opportunity. He’ll get it this weekend or the next.”

Speaking of position battles, Tomlin also elaborated on the Steelers’ plan for their placekicking situation. Both incumbents – Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry – will be sharing the load Friday night.

The training camp kicking competition between Boswell and rookie Matthew Wright will continue into Friday, as Tomlin confirmed the pair will alternate placekicking duties against Tampa with equal opportunity to pull ahead in the race.

Berry will split punts with newcomer Ian Berryman, as well.

Boswell is coming off the worst season of his career in 2018, where he missed on 12 attempts – five of which were PATs – and ended with a 65% completion rate. He has been better in camp, but will need to adjust to the tricky kicking confines of Heinz Field.

“He has been solid, but we haven’t done anything yet,” said Tomlin. “We’re stepping into the stadium for the first time. That’s exciting. We’ve put him into some situations out here, but we’re just beginning to unfold the storyline of the consistency there, not only for him but for all of those guys.”

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