The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2019 season much as they did the 2018 season, by allowing their playoff fate slip out of their grasp. Slow starts and slow finishes permeated both campaigns, with strong runs in between. But while the results were the same missing the playoffs, the means were quite different.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we. But that they still managed to go 8-8 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with the general quality of play that they faced along the way, I suppose things could have been worse.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2019 season.
Player: Mason Rudolph
Experience: 2 Years
This one is odd, because I would be inclined to start off with Ben Roethlisberger. But was he really the ‘starter’ in 2019, when he only played six quarters? The bulk of the quarterbacking was done by Mason Rudolph, and so that is who I will be discussing in the ‘starter’ position as we get this series underway.
A third-round pick in 2018, Rudolph was looked at by the organization as a third-round talent, and he was eager to earn the backup role in his second season. He did so, but surely couldn’t imagine how much playing time that would open up.
Had he not gotten injured nor struggled, he would have started 14 games this year. As it is, he was limited to eight starts, missing two due to injury, four due to the fact that he was benched. Devlin Hodges started the games in between until he, too, was benched. And then Rudolph was injured again.
In fact, he’s currently spending his time rehabbing, but once he does, he hopefully recognizes some of the things that he needs to work on. While his willingness to stand in the pocket is admirable, he clearly, for example, takes too long to get the ball out. Combined with a variable internal clock, this has led to a fair amount of unnecessary pressure, and sacks.
Many have observed that he anticipates the ‘perfect throw’ too frequently, worrying about making a mistake, and that often results in either settling for a checkdown or succumbing to pressure. His footwork also continues to need improvement, even though he made strides there since his rookie season.
The good thing is that he did make some nice plays. Anybody denying that there is something to work with in him is being disingenuous. He is capable of making great throws, to be sure, and also has a natural leadership ability to him.
The goal is for him not to need it for at least another two years, of course, while Roethlisberger finishes out his career.