In an interview with Pittsburgh media on Saturday, Steelers back-up quarterback Mason Rudolph discussed his 2019 season along with his role with the 2020 Steelers. Starting eight games for the Steelers last season, Rudolph does not believe he played to an adequate level expected of him as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers despite going 5-3. According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Rudolph critiqued his play as being the person in charge of orchestrating the Steelers offense on the field.
Mason Rudolph on last season: "When I looked back last year, I think I didn't run our offense at the level that meets the Pittsburgh Steelers standard."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 22, 2020
Although Rudolph managed to be credited with five wins in 2019, one of them came in a game in which he did not complete. Lifted in the second half of the Steelers Week 12 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was Devlin Hodges who rallied the team for the victory. Rudolph also did not complete the Steelers Week 5 overtime loss to the Ravens as he exited with a concussion.
Rudolph appeared in two other games in 2019 where he was not the starter. Coming in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2, the Steelers fell to the Seattle Seahawks in their home opener. Additionally, Rudolph came into the game against the New York Jets just before halftime and brought the team back to tie the game only to exit in the third quarter with a season-ending collarbone injury.
The 2019 season had Rudolph thrust into game action much quicker than desired. Going from game-day inactive every week during his 2018 rookie season, Rudolph became the starting quarterback only six quarters into 2019 after earning the role of primary back up. In a season which Rudolph should have seen an increased number of practice reps when Roethlisberger was given days off during the week, Rudolph found himself preparing to be the starter going into the third week of the season. Add in the vicious hit which knocked him out of his third start, compounded with the attack and allegations brought against him in Week 11, it was not the season anyone could have predicted for the young quarterback.
So what does the future hold for Rudolph in the NFL? For him, it is to one day be a starting NFL quarterback. Although Rudolph feels he will be a starter in the league, he also knows this year his job is to help the Steelers in backing up Ben Roethlisberger.
Rudolph: "I am confident that I will be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Right now my job is to prepare and push Ben and help our guys anyway I can."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 22, 2020
While some Steelers fans have already determined the verdict for Rudolph based on the 10 games he appeared in 2019, it does not appear the young quarterback is allowing that to shape his entire career. For now, the best thing Rudolph can do is learn everything he can in his given situation. And with the Steelers finally adding a dedicated quarterback coach for the 2020 season, it should only help Rudolph even more in his development. It also was a vote of confidence in Rudolph when the Steelers did not bring in another quarterback this past offseason according to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.
Mason Rudolph speaking via zoom this morning said having Matt Canada added as the quarterback's coach has been great to help all of the guys in the room. He also said the fact that a veteran QB wasn't brought in always helps with confidence.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 22, 2020
When it comes to Mason Rudolph and the 2020 Steelers, the best possible scenario is for him to rarely see snaps only in some “mop up duty” at the end of games. Until then, Rudolph needs to glean what he can from the Steelers future Hall of Fame quarterback until his opportunity comes again.