While Mason Rudolph may have no shot of unseating Ben Roethlisberger as the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback in 2019, he will enter training camp with every intention of taking the backup job away from Josh Dobbs.
Without the benefit of a dedicated quarterbacks coach like many of his peers around the NFL enjoy, Rudolph has been forced to take it upon himself to find help with his game from outside the organization. Working under the tutelage of Tom House, a former major-league pitcher known as “The Throwing Doctor,” the second-year player is reportedly looking even stronger at OTAs this offseason.
And when speaking to the media after practice on Thursday, Rudolph was clearly much happier with the improvements he has made since his rookie season. As reported by Josh Rowntree of 93.7 The Fan.
“I thought I improved a lot, just comfortability ... Personally, I feel I threw the ball very well, I took care of the ball, barely any turnovers - especially in the red zone. That was an emphasis for myself. Speed everything up in the red zone, make sure my ball placement’s good. We’re giving guys a chance to make plays. I thought I did that and was accurate.”
“That’s always been my motto. Let’s be, not just be a little bit better, but make huge strides from the previous year. Whether it was high school or college and that’s what I’ve done this year. From a protections standpoint and general knowledge of the offense ... 100 times better than it was last year.”
With Roethlisberger present for each day of OTAs but not always practicing, there has plenty of chances for Rudolph to run with the first-team. And in the battle to be the No.2 quarterback on the roster, the young player appears to be relishing the opportunity to impress.
“It’s awesome. It’s different faces, especially the number one oline, it’s good to hang out with the for a change and get in the huddle with those guys. They’re always fun and fun to be around. But whoever you’re getting reps with out here, you get a chance to maximize your rep every single day and that’s the way I look at it.”
Noting he had seen a lot more time with the starting unit in year two, Rudolph suggested to reporters that he was starting to earn the trust of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner
“Randy feels more comfortable with me and my knowledge and that I’m going to go in there and run the play and execute. I think that’s just what happens in year two. It’s been great, it’s awesome to be with those first guys, very valuable.”
The full interview can be heard here, with Rudolph opening up more about the work he has been doing this offseason with names like Jaylen Samuels and Darrius Heyward-Bey away from team facilities and his thoughts on the new crop of rookies.