Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear on Tuesday that staring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will sit out the team’s regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday because of it essentially being a meaningless game. Not surprisingly, Tomlin said that Roethlisberger’s backup Mason Rudolph will get the start at quarterback against the Browns. So, will Rudolph have Roethlisberger to lean on all week when it comes to helping him prepare to play the Browns on Sunday? Michael Silver of the NFL Network doesn’t think that will be the case.
“I don’t think Mason Rudolph’s gonna get a lot of help from Ben Roethlisberger in this prep,” Silver said on Tuesday. “I’m told they really don’t have much of a relationship, so the young player is going to have to sink or swim on his own here.”
Well, Silver’s comments will now likely result in Roethlisberger and Rudolph both being asked to comment on their relationship with each other as the week goes on and assuming both have media sessions. That could happen as early as Wednesday for one or both quarterbacks as that’s the day that Roethlisberger usually speaks to the media on.
While Roethlisberger and Rudolph might not be BFFs, it’s hard to imagine their relationship being as frigid as Silver makes it sound. After all, didn’t we all watch an injured Roethlisberger give support to Rudolph quite a bit last season on the sideline during games. Might their relationship be business only and might they not exchange Christmas cards every year? Sure, that’s possible. That said, it’s hard to imagine Roethlisberger purposefully not helping Rudolph prepare for the Browns and the young backup not being open to the veteran’s help.
Sunday’s start against the Browns is essentially Rudolph’s Super Bowl. He’s logged all of 21 offensive snaps this season with six of those being kneel-downs. He’s only attempted four passes this season with the other 11 plays being handoffs on running plays. He needs the work and the Steelers need to see that work as well.
The fact that Rudolph is playing he Browns with Cleveland’s 2020 playoff hopes potentially at stake is yet another reason why Sunday’s start is a Super Bowl-like one for him. After all that happened in Rudolph’s Week 11 start against the Browns last season, the Oklahoma State product is probably champing at the bit to pay back defensive end Myles Garett and Cleveland on their home field on Sunday. You’d think Roethlisberger would like nothing more than to see Rudolph exact his revenge on Sunday as well.
A lot of Steelers fans seem to be rooting for Rudolph to fall flat on his face against the Browns on Sunday and not as a result of Garrett hitting him over the head again with the quarterbacks’ own helmet. Rudolph, for whatever reason, isn’t well-liked by the majority of the team’s fanbase. Surely Roethlisberger doesn’t hate his backup as much as most of the fan base does, right?
I guess we’ll see how this latest tidbit from Sliver ultimately plays out this week and if either quarterback is asked to comment on the report about the their relationship being frostier than what FirstEnergy Field in Cleveland might ultimately be on Sunday.