Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph is the first to admit he didn’t have a good season in 2019.
“When I looked back at last year, I didn’t run our offense at the level to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers standard,” said Rudolph via a virtual conference call with the media on Saturday. But he says he used the offseason to analyze his performance in an effort to get better.
“You look at the film, ways to improve, and there is a lot of meat on the bone there where I get excited because you have been through a lot of game experience and reps and I felt what it was like to prepare each week in a cyclical manner of a season,” he added.
Mason Rudolph ‘Confident’ He Will Be a Starter, Someday
As a result, “I am very confident right now going into this year,” elaborated Rudolph. “I feel confident I will be a starting quarterback in the NFL.”
But not this year, not with franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger having recovered from last year’s season-ending elbow injury.
“Right now, my job is to prepare, push Ben and help our guys any way I can,” he said. “In training camp I can improve and take advantage of these reps every single day. It’s exciting. It’s a fun time of year. There are a lot of new faces. Just meshing with those younger guys and working to develop and grow.”
Rudolph Appreciates the Team’s Show of Confidence
Another thing Rudolph says has improved his self-confidence is the organization’s decision to stand pat and not sign a veteran quarterback this offseason, instead opting to move forward with the same group that handled the job last year—a group that includes third-string QB Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges and former Denver Broncos first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch.
“I think when the organization supports you and has faith in you, that builds your confidence,” explained Rudolph.
‘It’s Great to Have’ Matt Canada
Rudolph says he also appreciates the organization’s decision to hire a quarterback’s coach, that being Matt Canada, who has been working with all of the young QBs in Pittsburgh’s quarterback room.
“It’s great to have a quarterbacks coach now as a part of our organization to help myself as well as the other guys in the room,” said Rudolph. “[It’s] another set of eyes, another person to drill us and work us through practice. It’s going to be a big advantage when we are preparing for games when you have another seasoned football mind in there to collectively think and game plan.
And while Rudolph said he already had a good feel for the things he needed to work on entering training camp, “it’s great to have another set of eyes and have someone else bring something to your attention.”
Last but not least, Rudolph insists he is suffering no lingering effects from the injuries he suffered last year—including the collarbone injury that landed him in the hospital for several days—and that he’s been able to throw a football since March.
Yet there are those who believe that the Steelers’ confidence in Rudolph—not to mention Hodges—is misguided. One NFL analyst recently referred to Rudolph as ‘Captain Checkdown.’ Another said that Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback situation is one of the biggest ‘roster holes’ in the NFL.
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