It wasn’t that long ago the Titans were thinking about going with Zach Mettenberger as their franchise quarterback, or at least paying lip service to the idea. A year-and-a-half later, Mettenberger was being released by a NFL team for the second time in less than four months, and the Steelers swooped in to pick up the 2014 sixth-round draft pick.
Now all of a sudden Mettenberger is splitting first-team reps in the Steelers offense. Jeremy Fowler for ESPN.com reports the team wanted to take a closer look at the 25-year-old, so with the bye week coming up anyway, the coaches had him get some additional work in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We said, let’s go, let’s play ball, give Zach an opportunity to throw the ball, not just hand the ball off,” Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner said. “It’s been good work for him, and it’s been good for us to evaluate it on tape.”
Mettenberger had been flying under the radar since his arrival in Pittsburgh, but his name came to forefront with the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. The third-year veteran was active for the first time this past Sunday in case anything happened to Landry Jones, but he had been with the Steelers such a short amount of time and taken such limited reps, it’s hard to imagine Mettenberger would’ve been able to make much of a difference.
It’s only a few practices, but any opportunity to work with the first-team offense and get that attention from the coaching staff helps. It’s not as if Mettenberger has never played before either, making 10 starts for Tennessee in two seasons. No doubt, the work he put in helped, and should the Steelers need Mettenberger to actually go in a game, they might have a fighting chance now.