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Rooney: Steelers 'pretty comfortable' with their QBs

Despite having their season turned on its head by Ben Roethlisberger's Week 2 injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the playoff hunt until the bitter end and finished with a respectable 8-8 record.

As was to be expected, Big Ben's absence left a big void in the lineup but his rookie understudies, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, filled in admirably, starting eight and six games, respectively.

With the new league year set to begin March 18, the time has come for Steelers' management to start deciding what direction they would like to take the team in. Team president Art Rooney II revealed Wednesday that the Steelers do plan to fill some gaps on offense in free agency. Quarterback isn't expected to be one of them.

"We'll be looking for opportunities if we can to add a player we think can help us, whether it's a wide receiver or running back," Rooney said, via the team's website. "I am not sure about quarterback, whether we'll have an opportunity to sign anybody. I think we are pretty comfortable with the people we have on the roster right now in terms of Ben and Mason (Rudolph) and I think we will have Duck (Devlin Hodges) and Paxton Lynch participating and competing in camp and things like that this year."

Both Rudolph and Hodges posted an above 60 percent completion rate but combined for a 18-17 TD-INT ratio and were sacked a combined 30 times. A decent output but far from the type of production a team that was within arm's reach of a playoff berth and is equipped with a top-five defense needs.

It would make sense for the Steelers to at least consider adding a veteran QB should Roethlisberger not be ready by the start of training camp but Rooney's comments indicate the team plans to work with what they have, regardless of where Big Ben is in the rehab process.

Speaking of Roethlisberger's health, Rooney also provided an update on where things currently stand.

"So far, so good as far as Ben's progress," Rooney said. "He is still early in his rehab situation. All of the reports we have been getting have been positive. We look forward to him continuing to improve as we work into the spring here."

Rooney's comments were right on par with those given by coach Mike Tomlin in late December when he told reporters that Ben was "due for an update around the first of February." Roethlisberger underwent right elbow surgery eight days after getting hurt against the Seahawks on Sept. 15.

Having your free agency plans contingent upon the status of a soon-to-be 38-year-old QB fresh off an injury and coming into Year 17 is a risky decision but it's one Pittsburgh seems set on. Early in the season, the rebuild appeared imminent but now it appears Pittsburgh is headed for a re-tool.

"It's a long process. A lot of pieces to the puzzle that we have to look at to get ready for free agency," Rooney said. "We will be working hard on that between now and March 18."

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