After Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it known that Mason Rudolph would be starting in place of Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Michael Silver of NFL Media indicated that Rudolph probably wouldn’t be getting much help from the elder QB, as the two “don’t have much of a relationship.”
At his virtual press conference on Wednesday, Roethlisberger seemed eager to counter that narrative—at least to a point.
‘How Much Will You … Help Out Mason This Week’?
When asked by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette if he was glad to not be playing this week—and “how much will you, or do you need to, help out Mason this week?”—Roethlisberger totally forgot about the first part of the question:
“I’ll be here for Mason [Rudolph], for Josh [Dobbs], whoever it may be,” Roethlisberger said, referring to his team’s second- and third-string quarterbacks. “Kind of like last year, that’s the approach I’m going to take. I never want to step on toes, but I want to be available [for] questions, to help, to [provide] input with Coach Randy [Fichtner], Coach Canada, whoever it may be. I’ve already talked to Mason about that. That’s going to be my role this week is to really try to and do everything I can to be there to answer questions or to be of help to them to get them prepared for this game.”
That sounds like a passive approach to providing help and advice, but at the same time, it’s not Roethlisberger’s job to get Rudolph ready to play. Also, there is a 13-year age difference between starter and backup, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they don’t have much in common to bond over.
Ben Roethlisberger on Mason Rudolph: ‘He Has Gotten Better Every Year’
Also, it worth noting that Roethlisberger did praise Rudolph’s development as a quarterback, saying:
“I think he’s gotten better—he has gotten better every year—in terms of understanding and knowing the offense [and] reads [and] throws. He’s physically gifted, he’s smart, so you know he can make all the throws and do things.”
Roethlisberger also went on to say that during games “Mason has gotten to the point, especially in the last few weeks, where he is chiming in with thoughts on plays, saying, ‘Hey, Ben, what about this? What about this?’ I think that shows growth and maturity of a guy that understands the offense and what we are trying to do on a week-to-week basis. I think that’s been really, really good.”
As for the prospect of Mason Rudolph returning to Cleveland—the scene of the crime, so to speak—Roethlisberger indicated that Rudolph is excited about getting to go against Myles Garrett and his Browns teammates. (Last November, Garrett hit Rudolph over the head with his own helmet, sparking a brawl at the end of a game the Browns won, 21-7.)
“I know from talking to Mason—and knowing Mason—that he wants to go out and win this football game and he’s going to do everything he can to do that for this team,” said Roethlisberger. “This is an awesome opportunity for him to go out and show what he can do.”
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