The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Mason Rudolph showed us who he is as a player yesterday.
Explanation: The fourth-year veteran completed 30 of 50 pass attempts during Sunday’s game for 242 yards with one touchdown pass, one interception, and only averaged 4.8 yards per pass attempt. Numbers only tell part of the story, however.
Of course a player tells you who he is when he’s out there playing on the field. Especially when we’re talking about a guy who’s been around the league and made numerous starts. Maybe Rudolph wasn’t playing with a full deck in terms of skill position players, but it was his offense that only put up 16 points against one of the worst teams in the NFL. For someone who does get some first-team reps basically every week.
If you’re talking about somebody whom you think can be your next starting quarterback, then this is not what you want to see. His accuracy, for one thing, left a lot to be desired, and he was the first to admit that there were a lot of throws that he wanted to have back. You can’t miss a layup touchdown pass, for starters.
Nobody is going to argue that Rudolph had a particularly good game, but we have seen better from him. It’s hard to learn the day before that you’re going to start a game because the guy in front of you tested positive for COVID-19. And then to do it with a bunch of backups, and young players who are putting the ball on the ground around you, well, there’s a case to be made that there’s more to the story.
It’s also important to recognize that not everything you see on tv is exactly what happened. The deep, high incompletion to Diontae Johnson over the middle of the field, for example, which went off his hand. Who was that on? It’s hard to say without the coaches’ tape. There was another pass, which was admittedly high, to Johnson where it wasn’t wholly on the quarterback.