The current Collective Bargaining Agreement has been in place for nearly a decade at this point. Because of this, I’m going to assume that you are already familiar with some of the broader aspects of the document as it pertains to the earliest portions of work in the offseason, or ‘Phase One’.
During this time, players are allowed to work out at the facilities, but have minimal access to coaches, and no access to them on the field. In fact, there can be no informal work on the field. That’s not to say that there aren’t any Pittsburgh Steelers players working out on a field somewhere together, because there are.
And among the players on that field recently has been second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph, whom the Steelers traded up in the third round a year ago to select. Pittsburgh brought him in because, while they were not looking to draft a quarterback, they had a first-round grade on him and did not want to pass up the opportunity to acquire such a talent toward the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
Nevertheless, Rudolph spent his rookie season sitting on the bench. Not behind Landry Jones, who had been the Steelers’ backup quarterback for the past several years, but rather Joshua Dobbs, who was drafted in the fourth round the year before him. Dobbs not only unseated Jones, resulting in the Steelers releasing him, he kept ahead of the rookie.
Rudolph is looking to make the jump from third-string to backup in 2019, however, and is getting in as much work as possible. As we have previously reported, he has said earlier this offseason that he has spent time working with an independent quarterbacks coach and planned to work with former Oklahoma teammate James Washington in the offseason.
“I have been throwing consistently, three times a week the last three weeks”, he told the team’s website as Phase One of the offseason program got underway. “There are some fields in the area here we have been going to. We have had a good group together working. There are some guys who haven’t been in town, so to get everyone together now is great”.
He doesn’t specify which players have been joining him during these very unofficial workouts, but I’m willing to guess that Washington and some of the other young wide receivers were among them. perhaps Dobbs as well, and Brogan Roback.
“Everything is more comfortable”, he said in comparing where he is now to where he was last season. “It’s your first time going through a regular offseason. I am excited to be back with the guys. It’s a good chance to get some guys back, work with them and meet and keep the train moving”.
At this time last year, of course, Rudolph wasn’t even with the Steelers. This is the first time he is going through the full process, and he is trying to get as much out of it as he possibly can in the effort to better himself and his stature on the team—and thus to better the team in the process.