Mason Rudolph: Winning Starting Job Means The Steelers Failed

August 2, 2022
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Does Mason Rudolph really have a chance at winning the starting job? Matt Canada says it’s a possibility.

Prior to this summer, most Steelers fans would’ve assumed the acquisitions of Mitchell Trubisky and Rookie Kenny Pickett would have ruled out the possibility of seeing Mason Rudolph lead the offense in 2022. Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada has gone on the record saying otherwise. According to Canada, Rudolph being the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger is a growing a possibility once again.

In an interview with 93.7 the fan via Pro Football Talk, Canada stated, “Mason’s getting the second reps right now, almost equal to, maybe slightly less than Mitch.” The Steelers second year Offensive Coordinator would also go on to say, “He’s being given a very fair shot. To this point in camp, it might have been exactly equal. Mason has made a lot of plays at times, he’s played very well at times for us. He’s got a great shot at it. He’s being treated that way. His history with our plays, with our system, is a positive for him.”

Teammate Chase Claypool has even given Mason Rudolph some praise regarding his accuracy. “Mason, all the receivers say, he’s one of the most accurate quarterbacks. It’s crazy how accurate he is,” Claypool told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “He doesn’t get enough praise and attention. He’s just as in the running as the two of those guys.”

While the snap count so far has been comparable between Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, the numbers seem to suggest Mason Rudolph has the edge. Through the first four days of camp the former third round draft pick has been solid. According to Alex Kozora’s (Steelers Depot) stat tracking during 7 shots it looks like Trubisky is still getting settled into the offense, and Mason Rudolph has shown why he’s being given the opportunity to compete in the first place.

Kenny Pickett’s Rookie Struggles

The Steelers invested the 20th overall pick in this spring’s NFL Draft on Kenny Pickett. The move would suggest Pickett could see some early playing time considering his age as well as his “most NFL ready” reputation among this year’s rookie quarterbacks. The probability of that is looking less and less likely as each day of camp passes in Latrobe.

Up until Day five of training camp, where he got his first go at the second team reps, Pickett had been given the short end of the stick taking third team snaps. His numbers were ugly and looked like what you might expect from a rookie in his first real NFL practices. While it is still EXTREMELY early in the season, it could still be cause for concern that your first round draft pick could potentially be the third man on the bench come week one of the regular season.

Training camp performances are certainly not the end all be all when making predictions for the season, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. Remember, Ben Roethlisberger was also listed as the number three quarterback going into training camp his rookie year and we all know how that turned out.

Mitchell Trubisky QB1?

The former number two overall pick signed a two year 14.285 million dollar contract with the Steelers in Free Agency and is perceived by many to be the starter week one in Cincinnati. His performance thus far hasn’t been jaw dropping but his pass attempts down the field have been the most noteworthy of the bunch.

Hopefully the interceptions and inaccuracies are just a sign of getting settled into a new system for Trubisky and the Steelers sake. It would not be a good look for the Steelers to have wasted nearly 15 million dollars as well as a first round draft pick on two back up quarterbacks.

Mason Rudolph’s Resume

Rudolph’s past with the Pittsburgh Steelers is a clear advantage due to the fact that he is more experienced in Matt Canada’s offense than the other two quarterbacks. Through his first four seasons in the NFL, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy has started ten games throwing for 13 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

At times, Mason Rudolph has proved to be a capable NFL quarterback. At other times, he has been downright atrocious. To put it bluntly, a quarterback like Mason Rudolph isn’t someone that can lead a team to success over the course of a full season and probably won’t have fans very excited if named the starter this season.

Regardless of your opinions on either of the three quarterbacks, the right thing to do as a fan would be to root for the best man to win the job. However, as I stated earlier, wasting a premium draft pick along with 15 million dollars for back up quarterbacks is not ideal and would be considered a failure by many.

If Mason Rudolph somehow manages to make a miraculous leap into NFL stardom this year, the wasted assets won’t matter and fans will quickly forget. If he proves to be much of the same that he has been through his first four years, and Pickett and Trubisky both are unable to beat him out, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a huge problem on their hands.