As the Steelers’ season winds down, it’s time to start thinking about life after Ben Roethlisberger. One man who has been mentioned in a great deal of trade rumors is Mason Rudolph. He finished his college career with 11,201 yards and threw for 104 touchdowns at Oklahoma State before transferring to Oklahoma where he threw for 3368 yards and 28 touchdowns as a true freshman last year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the process of replacing Ben Roethlisberger, and there is a good chance that Mason Rudolph will be taking over for him.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking to establish a completely new foundation at quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired after 18 seasons. The position looks to be going to a Mason.
Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins have been told they are the top two candidates to replace Roethlisberger in the starting lineup, according to media reports released Wednesday. However, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, “all indicators point” to Rudolph having the inside track to start Week 1 of the 2022 season.
Since Tommy Maddox at the start of the 2004 season, Rudolph would be the Steelers’ first quarterback other than Roethlisberger to open the season as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. Early in that season, Roethlisberger snatched the job away from Maddox and never looked back, playing his last game for the Steelers in a 42-21 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Playoffs on Sunday night.
During a Zoom chat with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Rudolph stated, “It’s a terrific feeling.” “All I want is to compete and be the man here.” That seems to be a more realistic prospect today than ever before.
“All I’ve ever aspired to be is a starting quarterback in the NFL.” I believe I am capable of completing the task. “I believe I possess the necessary qualifications.”
The Steelers are keeping their quarterback in-house due to the lackluster free agency quarterback crop.
Mason Rudolph | Getty Images/Stacy Revere
This offseason, numerous big-name quarterbacks are likely to be traded, including Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Deshaun Watson is another candidate that is expected to be mentioned, but his off-field issues make any trade deal difficult to accept.
The Steelers aren’t anticipated to be aggressive in that market, and the available unrestricted free agency quarterbacks aren’t great. This is also not the year to locate a high-upside quarterback in the NFL Draft, since the top three choices in the 2021 Draft, as well as five of the first 15, were all quarterbacks.
The Steelers, who signed Rudolph through the 2022 season on the opening day of the Draft last April, are willing to ride out the ’22 season with Rudolph and Haskins as backups, then focus on making a larger statement in 2023, according to Kaboly.
“That low-key extension on draft day [in 2021] could well be the Steelers’ best choice,” Kaboly wrote.
Rudolph’s last starting experience occurred in 2019, and the outcomes were not always favorable.
After being taken in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Rudolph has experience as the Steelers’ starting quarterback. Rudolph started eight games, finishing 5-3, after Ben Roethlisberger had Steelers elbow injury that forced him to miss many months of the 2019 season.
However, it was evident that the second-year player was not yet ready for such a role, and he was eventually benched in favor of “Duck” Hodges.
Rudolph’s tenure is best remembered for an ugly incident late in a Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns in November 2019, when Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and struck him in the head with it, claiming he heard Rudolph make a racially insensitive comment as Garrett rushed him on a pass play. Garrett was banned for the last six games of the regular season because the remark was never verified.
Rudolph had an inconsistency in his first eight games, with a 13-9 touchdown-interception ratio and an 82.0 passing rating.
“I realize what I’ve put on video in ’19, and there are questions about my game till this point,” Rudolph said on Wednesday. “I want to disprove those critics, and I want to disprove myself in front of my teammates and the men I care about.”
One of Rudolph’s best receivers has lent his support to the quarterback.
Rudolph only made one start in 2021, another notable No. 14 in the quarterback’s career, and not for the reasons you would think. This was a 16-16 draw at home against the Detroit Lions, who had previously gone winless. Rudolph completed 30 throws for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the game. Despite his difficulties, Rudolph has the backing of possibly the only person outside of the coaching staff who can help him.
In 2021, Diontae Johnson led the Steelers in receptions (107), yards (1,161), and touchdowns (8), and he’s excited to see Rudolph take over following season.
Johnson told CBSSports.com, “Mason is a fantastic athlete, a great quarterback.” “He’s a brilliant guy.” While playing alongside him my rookie year, he shown that he had the ability to win games for us. He has the ability to make plays in difficult situations. He’s at ease. He was usually on the sideline this year, advising us what to watch for and what coverages [defenses] were primarily in. I’m just making up plays to see if we can defeat various coverages.
“I’m confident he’ll put in a lot of effort to win the starting spot.” “I’m hoping for the best for him.”
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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