When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph, they did so because they felt that they had to. A quarterback that they viewed as a first-round talent, that they openly talked about as having the potential to develop into a successful starter, suddenly available in the third round? Sure, they already had three quarterbacks. But maybe this guy could succeed Ben Roethlisberger.
That was never going to be Landry Jones. At least at the time of the draft, they didn’t necessarily view Joshua Dobbs in that light, though they had not closed the door on him, either. But when they drafted Dobbs last year, Art Rooney II made clear to state that any quarterback they took ought not be looked at as a successor.
Rudolph’s time is not now, of course. While the Steelers were comfortable enough with Dobbs and himself to part with Jones, the rookie is still learning a lot about the game, and Dobbs, in the coaches’ eyes, earned the right to be the backup quarterback for now. Which means that Rudolph will have to scrounge for reps.
Though perhaps not as often as one might think. Head Coach Mike Tomlin was asked by Mark Kaboly during his pre-game press conference earlier today about the team’s strategy to continue to develop the rookie quarterback into the regular season, and essentially, if there even was one, considering, as the reporter assumed, he would only be taking scout team reps.
“Absolutely” there are ways to further Rudolph’s development as the number three quarterback this year, Tomlin told the veteran reporter. “And I’m not suggesting that he’s only going to get scout team reps. That’s your words, not mine. We’re going to continue with his growth and development”.
Of course he did not go on to specify how the team intended to do that or really give any sort of details, but it is an interesting comment nonetheless. The Steelers have two very young, inexperienced quarterbacks on the roster right now. They have the weigh the need to develop both with the need of an inexperienced backup to get as much work as possible.
“That’s our charge to do so”, Tomlin said of the idea of continuing the third-string quarterback’s development into the regular season. “Not only him, but everybody within our football team. This is not a finished product as we kick out of the gates and start our season. We better continually be individuals, and a group, on the rise, in all aspects of our games if we want to continue to be on the road as it gets increasingly narrow”.
How will this manifest itself? When it does, will we even get to hear about it? At this point, who knows. All we do know is that so far, after his first-ever regular season practice, Rudolph found himself quite surprised by how little work there was for him.