From a blogging perspective, the last several offseasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers have been borderline excellent. It seems like every year there is some type of defining story that, let’s be honest here, fills up the content line during a period of the NFL calendar when it can often be difficult to have any reliable stream of things to talk about. I think we’re all adults here and have some understanding about how the sausage is made.
This year’s sausage is Ben Roethlisberger, and whether or not he’s past his expiration date. It’s been the topic of conversation on probably every single sports medium that addresses the NFL at some point over the course of the past month and a half.
Last night, KDKA featured a panel discussion of some prominent media members who cover the Steelers, featuring Will Graves of the Associated Press, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, and Colin Dunlap, host of the 93.7 The Fan Morning Show.
Dunlap in the first segment of the panel addressed the other element in the room: Mason Rudolph, and the fact that the team has always been high on him, from the moment that they drafted him, and remained higher on him than anybody on the outside, even when he struggled.
Ben Roethlisberger won’t be bad enough to have them win four or five games. He’ll never be good enough the rest of his career to have them win 10 or 11 games from here on out, I don’t think. So their best chance, it’s probably about a push [between him and Rudolph], I would think.
Here’s the thing. We found this out from day one when they drafted Mason Rudolph. The opinion with Mason Rudolph within the walls of that building at the South Side facility is vastly different than the court of public opinion in Pittsburgh.
Every chance that they get, no matter who it is, whether it’s Mike Tomlin, whether it’s Kevin Colbert, whether it’s Art II, they seem to have a much higher opinion of Mason Rudolph than the general public does in Pittsburgh, and they’re very willing to tell it to us.
The topic of Roethlisberger versus Rudolph in terms of performance in 2021 has been coming up more and more recently, with many arguing that the Steelers might actually be better served with the fourth-year man under center on the field at this point in Roethlisberger’s career.
That’s a pretty interesting turnabout when you consider where the discussion on Rudolph was a year ago, or even at pretty much any point before the 2020 regular season finale, during which he threw for over 300 yards with a couple of touchdowns in losing effort to a Cleveland Browns team with basically their entire starting secondary unavailable.