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Friday, August 15, 2014
Steelers' update position watch: QB

By Scott Brown

This is the start of a series that takes a post-training camp look at every Pittsburgh Steelers' position. First up is quarterback.

Players on the roster: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones and Brendon Kay.

Projected starter: Roethlisberger. The only way this changes is if Roethlisberger, the player the Steelers can least afford to lose, gets hurt.

Projected number on 53-man roster: Three. If Jones struggles in the final three preseason games, the Steelers could release the second-year man and try to sneak him onto the practice squad. Coach Mike Tomlin sidestepped a question earlier this week when asked if the Steelers would consider keeping just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.

Rookie watch: Kay, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, is running out of time to make a move and challenge Jones for the No. 3 job. The Cincinnati product didn't play in the Steelers' preseason opener. He will need to make the most of the limited snaps he gets Saturday night against the Buffalo Bills.

What we learned in camp: The Steelers are in deep trouble if Roethlisberger goes down for an extended period and not just because he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL as well as the player who makes the no-huddle offense go. Gradkowski is a proven veteran but he struggled in the Steelers' 20-16 loss to the New York Giants last Saturday and his arm strength is a question. Jones has made improvement since his rookie season but he is not ready to start an NFL game.

He said it: "I have faith that the Steelers will do what we need to do when it’s time and that’s putting people on the field through free agency, trades, drafts to make us the best team that we can possibly be. When we get (to training camp) there is no contract talk. It’s time to play football and that’s what I’m excited about.” -- Roethlisberger on the Steelers' decision to negotiate a new contract with him after the 2014 season.