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 play another snap this season?
The last snap that Mason Rudolph played came very early in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals just over a week ago. He had just thrown a bad incompletion on third and long, the ball arriving not even at the feet of an otherwise open Diontae Johnson.
That could be the final snap that he sees for quite some time. Mike Tomlin made the decision at that point, at the end of the opening drive of the second half of that game, to make the switch to Devlin Hodges, who helped the offense put up 13 points for the comeback victory, an important one.
Tomlin saw enough from the rookie quackerback to give him the opportunity to start yesterday’s game, and outside of perhaps two passes, both directed to Johnson, he certainly didn’t disappoint. A particular weapon was the downfield pass, as he averaged over 10 yards per attempt and connected three times for 30-plus yards with James Washington.
While he didn’t outright make it official that Hodges would continue to start next week, Tomlin didn’t really have to. Presumably, he will continue to play through the remainder of the season, provided that he continues to play well.
This was Rudolph’s year, in light of Ben Roethlisberger’s injury. Potentially, he blew it with an ugly stretch of games, leaving the door ajar for Hodges to waddle his way through. It’s Duck season until we’re told otherwise, and the red-nosed Rudolph will have to wait in line.