The Pittsburgh Steelers have not exactly put together the offense that they expected to have in 2019. While they knew that they would be entering the year without one of the best receivers in the game in Antonio Brown, nobody envisioned that Ben Roethlisberger would play just six quarters before succumbing to a lingering elbow injury.
Second-year Mason Rudolph won the backup quarterback job, which instead became a 14-game opportunity to start, and show the team what he has. So far, while he has flashed a lot of potential, the fact remains that the offense has not been where it needs to be, even if that’s not all on him.
One thing that has been an issue since he returned from his concussion has been getting off to slow starts, which has happened in each of the past two games, though that was especially case in the game against the Miami Dolphins. They came back to win that one, and they won again on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, with help from the defense.
When head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about Rudolph’s struggles to get going earlier in the game and what he could do as a coach to help his young quarterback, he said, “Rudolph needs to help Rudolph start faster”, with a laugh. He added, “we’ll do some things, obviously. We hadn’t gotten off to the type of start that we want to, but starts don’t define us, thankfully”.
In theory, the start of the game should be some of your most successful plays, as you’re playing off of a script at that point, and teams even practice running that script, some of them even running it straight through. These are the plays they’re comfortable with. Yet Rudolph hasn’t been able to get them going.
?He’s a young guy. He’s a guy that’s missed some time due to injury and coming off of a bye week. We’re just trying tot find our rhythm and traction, and we can’t have a lot of self-inflicted wounds along the way”, Tomlin said in speaking on the perils of navigating through adversity with a novice quarterback.
“We’ve had some” self-inflicted wounds, he said, and it should be acknowledged that at least the interception Rudolph threw was off of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hands. “Thankfully it hasn’t prevented us from winning. We need to get better. And not only him, but us, the units, collectively. We’ve got to start the games faster than we have. It’s as simple as that”.
It’s as simple as that merely to state it, yes. It’s quite another thing to plan for and overcome it. It would be great if we could see some substantial progress sometime soon. Perhaps during the three-game stretch of matchups with the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.