The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Mason Rudolph be able to dress as an emergency quarterback on Sunday?
While the hit that Mason Rudolph took on Sunday—and his subsequent collision with the ground—was scary, appearances don’t always tell you about the severity of a concussion, which will vary from person to person.
The fact that it was even part of the discussion that Rudolph would be eligible to participate in some level in practice yesterday on the surface feels somewhat remarkable, given the way the hit looked, but we will know a lot more about where he stands today, as the day after physical exertion is telling when coming back from a concussion.
Chances are, he’s still not going to be able to get in enough quality practice time to allow the coaches to feel comfortable in him actually starting Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but the fact that he has already been participating on the practice field in some capacity very much leaves open the possibility that he can dress and serve as the backup.
In such an event, it would spare the Steelers the need to cut somebody from the 53-man roster for the express purpose of adding a second healthy quarterback that they can dress for the game, which would likely be Paxton Lynch, who was signed to the practice squad after Ben Roethlisberger was placed on the Reserve/Injured List.
Obviously, it would but rookie undrafted free agent Devlin Hodges starting the game. The Steelers seem to feel comfortable with him, given the circumstances, but even if they weren’t, it should go without saying that they would not rush Rudolph back before he is ready to return.