Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin refused to say if quarterback Mason Rudolph won the right to backup starter Ben Roethlisberger for the season opener after the team’s Thursday night preseason finale. While the team has still yet to officially announce if Rudolph has won the No. 2 quarterback job, reports are now surfacing that he indeed has.
According to Jeremy Fowler of espn.com on Friday, Rudolph has won the Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback job and thus will open the 2019 regular season as Roethlisberger’s backup, “barring an unforeseen development.”
Of the three Steelers backup quarterbacks that played Thursday night in the team’s preseason finale against Carolina Panthers, Rudolph was the most impressive. He completed 7 of his 11 total pass attempts for 125 yards and a touchdown after relieving starter Joshua Dobbs in the second quarter. His lone touchdown pass went to wide receiver Johnny Holton from 31 yards out. on that play, Rudolph did a great job of looking off the deep safety before throwing deep to Holton down the right side of the field.
For the preseason, Rudolph completed 28 of his 43 total pass attempts for 368 yards. He threw four touchdowns and one interception in the four contests. As for Dobbs, who started two games to Rudolph’s one during the preseason, he ended the four-game exhibition schedule completing just 18 of his 33 total pass attempts for 280 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Dobbs was Roethlisberger’s backup all last season after beating out Landry Jones and Rudolph during training camp and the preseason. Rudolph ultimately wound up being inactive for all 16 regular season games last season.
The Steelers selected Rudolph in the third-round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State.
Tomlin will next address the media Tuesday at noon and at that time he’ll likely make it official that Rudolph will open the 2019 regular season as the backup to Roethlisberger.
“You know, as a second-year guy, like we’ve asked all second-year guys, I think he’s taken a significant step not only in consistency and production, but just awareness and communication; overall, general readiness,” Tomlin said of Rudolph after the team’s preseason finale. “Like a lot of the second-year guys, I thought he came in physically ready from a conditioning standpoint. He carried that knowledge of last year’s journey. So, it’s been a good process for him.”