Like it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers have started to prepare for life after franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. One possible successor to Roethlisberger is former Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, who signed a one-year Reserve/Future deal with the team in January and has already made an impression on Big Ben.
Another candidate to take over the starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh is current backup Mason Rudolph, who, it should be noted, is the only QB the Steelers have under contract for 2022. On Tuesday, Rudolph addressed the media and explained how he views the one-year extension he signed in late April.
‘Pittsburgh is a Place Where I Want to Be’
“It’s always good to get a vote of confidence from your team,” said Rudolph, though it doesn’t affect how he’s approaching his job.
“My outlook—my approach— is to prove myself every single day, whether that’s in an OTA when we are doing 7-on-7 or whether that’s in training camp or throughout the season. That doesn’t change my mindset, [but] obviously it’s a vote of confidence, it’s encouraging. And Pittsburgh is a place where I want to be for a long time. I love the whole organization here—it’s home….”
That said, Rudolph went on to indicate that his aim is to become a starter.
“That’s my goal, to be a starting quarterback in this league and for our team, and I’m working toward that goal every single day,” Rudolph added, per Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “I can only control myself and the way I prepare and the way I approach and play in OTAs and camp, and that’s on the forefront of my mind.”
Rudolph ‘Looking Forward to Competition’
Meanwhile, he said he welcomes the competition at his position—whether it’s coming from Haskins or a future draft pick.
“I think you’re always excited and looking forward to competition,” Rudolph told Pryor. “You know that it’s going to be there each and every year, it’s just a matter of who. … Competition makes everybody better, and you look forward to that, especially in the offseason.”
Rudolph insists that he took significant strides last year, even though he had the opportunity to start only one game—the season-finale against Cleveland.
In part, that’s because he was tutored by a dedicated quarterbacks coach, one who has since been promoted to offensive coordinator.
“Having Matt Canada—having a quarterback coach—really helped me take some steps forward and develop and have that confidante week-to-week to go to and ask questions,” he told the assembled media on Tuesday.
Now he says he’s also benefitting from the opportunity to work with new quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, who was hired in February to work with Roethlisberger, Rudolph, Haskins and presumptive third-string QB Josh Dobbs.
“He’s a drill guy. He’s a structure [and] detail-oriented guy,” said Rudolph. “He’s got a lot of information for us and he holds us accountable…. He’s big on footwork and on the little things and carrying out your fakes and being diligent so that’s been great because we all appreciate that.
“Mike’s been great—a lot of wisdom and we look forward to continuing to work with him,” the fourth-year pro concluded.
Rudolph, 25, was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft (No. 76 overall) out of Oklahoma State. Thus far he has compiled a 5-4 record as a starter, having completed 201 of 326 passes for 2,089 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
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