Many were quick to write off the rest of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers after franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury that came to a head during the second game of the year. They were already in an 0-2 hole at that point, and no other quarterback on the roster had ever played a snap before.
Since then, they have gone 3-2, including wins in two consecutive games, quarterbacked by different players—Devlin Hodges over the Los Angeles Chargers, on the west coast, and then the returning Mason Rudolph over the Miami Dolphins. Rudolph is now 2-2 in four starts and looking to go 3-2 with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts next week.
While he is out there on his own when he is on the field, however, Rudolph has gotten plenty of help throughout the process—from offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, from head coach Mike Tomlin, from Roethlisberger himself.
Rudolph talked a bit after the Dolphins game about how Roethlisberger has been of service to him since taking over the quarterback position, even seemingly expressing surprise over just how helpful he has been. He talked about his relationship with the veteran quarterback more with reporters yesterday.
“We have a process of what takes place when you come off of the field”, he outlined, via a transcript provided by the team’s media department. “Gathering information from the tablets, talking to Randy, receivers, running backs, whatever there may be…It’s a big advantage having a veteran quarterback in your corner looking to help you out any chance he gets. So I try to take advantage of that”.
Rudolph has talked about actively seeking our Roethlisberger for his guidance, but also how Roethlisberger volunteers things that he picks up while watching the game. He’ll pull him aside and show him something that he saw on the tablet, and what he might do in that situation.
Fichtner also talked about the relationship between his top two quarterbacks, and his involvement in it as well. “He’s been wanting to help everybody”, he said of Roethlisberger. “I think any communication that they could possibly be having could only help a young quarterback at any one given time. So, it’s a blessing still to have him, be around, and be capable to do that”.
While he for some reason got a good amount of grief for not traveling with the team when they were out west against the Chargers, Roethlisberger has been a visible and active presence on the sidelines in the game since his surgery, looking like the bionic man out there.
There is every reason to think that will continue to be the case over the next two games at least during this three-game homestand. That is what we actually get to see, of course. We don’t see the work that he puts in with the offense and with Rudolph over the course of the week.