Steelers News

Kevin Colbert Offers Calls Mason Rudolph’s Progress Very Encouraging, Says He’ll Want To Prove Himself In 2021

Mason Rudolph celebrates

By any measure, the praise that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert offered 17-year veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in his remarks earlier today to members of the media couldn’t really be described in terms more glowing than lukewarm, when given the context of their history, and frankly, their increasingly hypothetical future.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old passer, Colbert acknowledged, has communicated to them clearly that he still intends to continue to play, but from the front office’s point of view, there are obstacles in the way before they can make that determination, due to the financial constraints under which they are set to operate.

While he did say that the Steelers feel Roethlisberger can still “do some good things”, it hardly sounded as though they were discussing a two-time Super Bowl champion who has been a part of the organization for closer to two decades.

On the other hand, he did have some positive things to say about another quarterback on the roster. When it comes to fourth-year Mason Rudolph, he noted that they liked what they saw out of him when given the chance to start in the season finale last year.

Via Bob Labriola, Colbert said that Rudolph’s start in Cleveland against the Browns in week 17 was the best game thus far of his career, and he added that it was very encouraging to see him perform the way that he did in that game. He also said that he knows Rudolph, going into the final year of his deal, is going to want to prove himself

The former third-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and presumably, should the circumstances arise that they part ways with Roethlisberger, he would be the one who is in line to start, having done so in nine games so far in his career.

In that game, he only completed 22 of 39 pass attempts (though he was the victim of a number of drops), but pieced that together for a career-high 315 passing yards. He also threw a pair of touchdowns versus one interception in a losing effort.

During the 2019 season, when he played a significant amount with Roethlisberger injured, he logged time in 10 games, starting eight of them. He completed 176 of 283 passes for 1765 yards with 13 touchdown passes to nine interceptions. He was benched at one point in the season in favor of then-rookie college free agent Devlin Hodges.

When the Steelers first drafted him—in fact, they made a minor trade up to get him—Colbert said after the draft that they had him graded within the same cluster of the five quarterbacks who were take in the first round—in other words, they had a first-round grade on him.

They drafted him not because they needed quarterback depth (they already had Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs), but because they thought he had starter potential. The 2021 season will be the final opportunity, at least under his rookie deal, to make good on that evaluation.

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