In Week 7, the biggest talking point around the NFL was the video during Monday Night Football when New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was mic’d up for the game and was caught on film stating he was “seeing ghosts” when he was facing the stifling New England Patriots defense.
In case you haven’t seen the clip yet:
Sam Darnold is mic’d up and he came to the sidelines and said, “I’m seeing ghosts.”— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) October 22, 2019
(Via @ESPN) pic.twitter.com/9MoM6Rkmo5
When it comes to being a quarterback in the NFL, there isn’t much which is more damning than a quarterback stating they are “seeing ghosts” on the football field.
For those who don’t know the terminology Darnold is using, I should stop here and say Darnold isn’t referring to seeing Casper the Friendly Ghost on the football field, but how had been under such duress throughout the game he was seeing things which simply weren’t there. Feeling pressure when he actually had plenty of time to throw, things like that.
In the week following Darnold’s comment, former NFL quarterbacks have chimed in stating how this is something every quarterback experiences at some point or another in their career. And how it isn’t an indictment of Darnold as a quarterback moving forward in his young career.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was asked about “seeing ghosts” this week leading up to the team’s Monday Night Football game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field, and here was his response.
“In my dreams, I think. No. You see it every week. Defenses are extremely hard. It’s hard to put up points, and it’s hard to get explosive plays. I think our offense is moving in the right direction.
“I think we’ve got a lot of guys in this locker room that are starting to really rally together and starting to gel after a lot of new pieces were put together in this puzzle. I think we’re really comfortable playing together and for each other, and I’m just excited to get back out there with the guys on Monday, then continue to push, and try to get right back in. I think we’re in the mix right now, and keep stacking wins.”
Rudolph feels the Steelers offense is improving, and moving in the right direction, but what exactly would have to happen for this improvement to start this Monday night?
“I think you’ve got to have balance, and I think, in the offense, there’s going to be days where there’s chances and opportunities to push the ball down the field, and then there’s going to be opportunities to take what the defense gives you. That’s been a point of emphasis for us, but we’ve got a lot of guys that can go do and can make those plays for us. They’ve made those plays for us in practice the last couple of weeks. I feel really comfortable with about where we are moving forward in that area, and I think you’re going to see a lot more explosion and guys stretching the field moving forward.” Rudolph said.
Rudolph is returning to the lineup for the first time since he was knocked out of the Week 5 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter. Will their be rust? Will Rudolph be gun shy after Earl Thomas’ huge hit which left him motionless on the Heinz Field turf?
“I don’t think so. I think there has been a little rust, but I have at practice which is understandable.” Rudolph said. “I think just getting back and not really working out, going through that full practice with the ones, but I don’t think I’ve missed much. I don’t think I’ve skipped a beat. I think we’re really starting to gel well as an offense, and I’m looking forward to Monday. I think it’s a special group, and we’re ready to kind of get right back in this hunt and start trying to make a run.”
Rudolph laughed when asked about being gun shy the next time he is on the field and has the chance to deliver a pass with a pass rushing bearing down on him.
“No. My dad’s a linebacker. My brother’s a defensive end. A lot of times I wish I could have more contact in the game because I truly love it. That’s kind of the backyard player that I am. So I’m not going to be gun shy at all. If anything, I’ll be seeking it out, contact, earlier in the game to get the rust back and know what it feels like to get hit.”
Let’s hope the offensive line doesn’t allow too much contact on Rudolph in Week 8, and with that the Steelers’ offense provides a convincing win over the 0-6 Dolphins in prime time.