The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major set challenges facing them for the offseason of 2019 after they managed to miss the postseason for the first time in five years. The failure has been taken especially grievously because of the fact that the team was in position to control their own fate even for homefield advantage with six games remaining before dropping four games.
And so they find themselves getting the exit meeting process underway at least two weeks earlier than they have had to in years, since they have made it to at least the Divisional Round since 2015. Hopefully they used those extra two weeks with purpose.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2018 season.
Player: Mason Rudolph
Experience: 1 Year
Necessarily, it is difficult to talk about the season of a player who never dressed for a single game during the regular season, as is the case for rookie third-round draft pick Mason Rudolph, the second quarterback the Steelers have drafted in as many years.
Rudolph, out of Oklahoma State, is the highest quarterback the team has drafted since taking Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th-overall pick all the way back in the 2004 NFL Draft. Of course, that is largely because they haven’t had to worry about the quarterback position since then.
Even while Roethlisberger has tamped down talks of retirement and the team is currently working on giving him a contract extension, the fact remains that he may only have a few seasons left under his belt, and the Steelers viewed Rudolph as a potential future starter.
Still, while he was given ample opportunity to play during the preseason—he even started games and saw more snaps than anybody else among the quarterbacks—he did not earn the top backup job. I’m not sure if the team was really expecting him to do so, but surely they were hoping that he would.
Rudolph had some good moments during the preseason, to be sure, throwing three touchdowns to one interception, but he frequently looked like a rookie in his handling of the offense in terms of pace, decision-making, pocket presence, and comfort level. He varied between poised and lost, but that shouldn’t be terribly surprising, nor discouraging.
The goal was for this to be a redshirt year whether he dressed as the backup or not, and to be frank Joshua Dobbs barely had to play either. For his part, Rudolph said that he felt he grew a lot mentally during the season, learning quite a bit, to the point where he said he felt late in the year that he would have been able to play if he had to. Hopefully that bodes well for 2019.