Slow news day? Why yes, thank you for noticing.
I’m sure we’re all adult enough to understand what we’re doing here. We are a blog, and blogs feed off of content—generally, news, or at least things to analyze—in order to have things to blog. Sometimes the available content gets pretty lean, so the blog posts might not be as robust as is ideal, but we are trying to make a living.
That doesn’t mean a tepid aggregation piece can’t be use as a springboard for a discussion, so that’s what you’re reading here. The NFLPA recently held its rookie premiere, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mason Rudolph among others participated.
Rudolph very briefly spoke to reporters, who evidently asked him about Ben Roethlisberger’s communication with him. the rookie relayed what Roethlisberger told him, and added, “I’m looking forward to meeting Ben—it’ll probably be this coming week—and do what I can to learn from him and his unbelievable career, everything he does, just the little nuances of his game”.
Nothing exactly revelatory in what Rudolph had to say. Basically what you would expect him to say, especially if you have already been familiar with the other comments he has made regarding his potential future relationship with Roethlisberger.
It is worth talking about, though. How much of a relationship are they really going to end up having, at least during his rookie season? As Roethlisberger said during his now infamous interview, it’s part of the job of the backup to help the starter prepare for the game, but even assuming Rudolph plays well enough to be the backup, would he be ready enough to take on that task as well while still preparing himself as though he is going to start?
The truth is likely that he is going to have a closer relationship this summer with Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs than with Roethlisberger. The two of them know that he will be taking one of their jobs, but I don’t sense from either one of them that they are hostile toward his presence. They understand how the game works.
This is also far in advance, but it’s also worth considering how precious the preseason real estate is going to be this year. Even assuming that Roethlisberger does not take a single snap, they will only have four games’ worth of snaps to divide between Jones, Dobbs, and Rudolph to determine who is on the roster and in what role.
While Jones is the veteran, if he is the backup then he is going to need to be able to get the reps. And he could also be fighting for his job, so we can’t just assume that Rudolph and Dobbs will be thrown most of the work.
Realistically, somebody might have to be short-changed on playing time, and it’s probably not going to be Rudolph, though it can’t be ruled out. This is all assuming, of course, that injuries don’t take care of the issue.