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Mason Rudolph Steelers
NFL

Does Mason Rudolph Have Realistic Chance To Be Steelers’ Starting QB?

  • Justin Melo
  • August 1, 2022
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Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada recently stated that quarterback Mason Rudolph has a legitimate opportunity to earn Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback job. The comments arrive as a surprise given the presence of free-agent signing Mitchell Trubisky and first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett. It’s difficult to imagine Canada’s comments are genuine, but the play-caller made them all the same.

“Mason’s getting the second reps right now, almost equal to, maybe slightly less than Mitch,” Canada said, via 93.7 The Fan, via ProFootballTalk. “Mason is being given a very fair shot. To this point in camp, it might have been exactly equal. He’s got a great shot. He’s being treated that way,” Canada concluded.

Canada’s comments arrive after reports indicated Pickett has struggled at times during the early portion of Steelers practices. It’s no surprise to witness a rookie quarterback go through some growing pains in July and August. Rudolph, meanwhile, has strung together some impressive practices—which isn’t shocking given his understanding of Pittsburgh’s offensive system. Even still, it’s difficult to envision Rudolph truly receiving an equal opportunity to win Pittsburgh’s starting QB job. The reality is if the Steelers were satisfied with Rudolph, who’s their longest-tenured quarterback, they wouldn’t have gone out of their way to acquire not one, but two quarterbacks this offseason. The sample size on Rudolph was big enough to convince Pittsburgh to look elsewhere.

Trubisky arrived via a two-year contract worth $14.285 million. The former No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky is viewed as an intriguing reclamation project after serving as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo last season. That experience allowed Trubisky to work on his game behind the scenes with some high-level coaches such as Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll (now the New York Giants head coach) and quarterbacks position coach Ken Dorsey (now Buffalo’s offensive coordinator). 

Trubisky’s bridge contract didn’t prevent the Steelers from drafting Pickett, who was the lone signal-caller selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Pickett’s draft billing indicates he’s the Steelers’ franchise quarterback of the future, even if he isn’t under center in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pickett was drafted roughly one month after Trubisky was signed. Both of these moves occurred despite Rudolph previously signing a one-year contract extension through 2022. The writing has always been on the wall for Rudolph’s chances of becoming Pittsburgh’s next starting quarterback, despite what Canada is currently telling the media.

Rudolph originally joined the Steelers via a third-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Rock Hill, South Carolina native has appeared in 17 contests, starting 10, and owns an acceptable record of 5-4-1 as a starting quarterback. Rudolph has thrown 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 61.5% completion percentage.

Pittsburgh’s complicated quarterback situation will continue to unfold throughout training camp and the preseason. All three quarterbacks are expected to receive reps in Pittsburgh’s first preseason contest, an upcoming Mid-August date with the Seattle Seahawks. Practices will welcome more of the same until head coach Mike Tomlin begins narrowing his search. It would be a surprise if Mason Rudolph truly found himself in the mix, but we’ll continue to monitor this situation with increased fascination given this unforeseen development.