Atlanta Falcons: No Roethlisburger for the Steelers on Sunday

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: Ben Roethlisberger
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 14: Ben Roethlisberger /

In Preseason Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons won’t get to test their defense against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

The Atlanta Falcons will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, but the defense will be facing quarterback Joshua Dobbs instead of Ben Roethlisberger. Aside from his passing prowess, Big Ben is well-known for inspiring the name of several sandwiches, but Falcons fans should get used to going buger-less – seeing as how the Chick-fil-A concession stand at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium will actually be closed for seven of the Falcons eight home games this season (in order for employees to “rest and worship if they choose”). According to Sports Book Review the spread is 3 and the total is set at 39.5 (-110).

Atlanta will also be missing a key player. The highest paid running back in the league Devonta Freeman has been placed on concussion protocol and therefore ruled out of Sunday’s game, as well as the foreseeable future.

“As far as heading into the future, that’s out of my hands in terms of the doctors,” head coach Dan Quinn said on Monday per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Let them decide that.”

Tevin Coleman will take all of the first-team snaps as a result of Freeman’s absence. Moreover, Terron Ward, Brian Hill and Kelvin Taylor took most of the carries versus the Dolphins last Thursday, and will more than likely have a similar workload against Pittsburgh. Here’s hoping that the 2015 NFL rushing touchdowns leader will be up and running by the time the Falcons make the trip to Chicago win Week 1.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger has been more wishy-washy than good ol’ Charlie Brown about the whole retirement thing.

“It was just thoughts. It was just, I think, a prudent thing to do. Maybe I should’ve worded it, like, ‘Hey, I’m probably coming back, but I need to consider all my options,’” Big Ben recently told Ron Cook and Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

It’s fitting it was said on this show considering that’s where the saga began back in January. In any case, Roethlisberger is 35 and currently nursing an injured ankle, so the Falcons will get Dobbs in his stead. The rookie will make his second preseason start after going 8 of 15 for 100 yards with one touchdown in the Steelers 20-12 win over the Giants on Friday.

On a curious note, Quinn and his Pittsburgh counterpart Mike Tomlin know each other since 1994 when the former was a defensive line coach and the former a wide receiver at William and Mary. Both became members of the coaching staff at the Virginia Military Institute the following year.

Sunday will mark the first occasion in which these two bosom buddies face each other as head coaches since starting their respective NFL careers in 2001. In the intervening years Tomlin became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, while Quinn led the Falcons to becoming the team to squander the biggest lead in Super Bowl history.

Next: Dan Quinn puts rookie RB Brian Hill on notice

Though the Atlanta head coach is one year older, he has always gone to Tomlin for advice. “He’s always somebody that I look to that always handled things in a way that I really admired,” Quinn said per the Falcons’ official website.