The Pittsburgh Steelers have among the robust of histories at the quarterback position out of any franchise. Between Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger (and Bobby Layne for good measure), most teams would trade their own history for Pittsburgh’s.
But you don’t field history on Sundays. You field the present. And with Ben Roethlisberger stepping away from the game, the Steelers’ quarterback position right now is about as unsettled as anybody’s, unless you’re in the camp who believes that Mason Rudolph is the future. Bradshaw, for one, is not pitching his tent there.
“I don’t think they have the answer on the bench”, he told Rich Eisen last week. “Mason Rudolph out of Oklahoma State, they got him in the [third] round. He had his chances, and I didn’t see much from him. Maybe he has to play a full season, and they’ve got to build something around him”.
Since being drafted in 2018, Rudolph has started 10 games, going 5-4-1, though in one of those wins, Devlin Hodges replaced him due to performance and led a comeback. At the same time, they took the lead on the drive on which he was injured against the Baltimore Ravens that first season he played in 2019, which Hodges ended up losing in overtime.
For his career, he has completed 236 of 384 pass attempts for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He started one game in 2021, drawing to a tie with the Detroit Lions. He was the victim of two excruciating fumbles by his skill players in overtime, however.
Speaking of which Bradshaw brings up a fair point, which is simply that a talented quarterback is not going to be successful if he doesn’t have the structure around him. Not even Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady is going to be in conference finals on a regular basis on his own.
“I don’t care who’s playing quarterback. Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, doesn’t matter to me. If they don’t have talent around them, you’re not gonna see their talent”, he said. “If you don’t protect him and give him a running back and give him wide receivers where they can function and their talents show, it’s not gonna work”.
Regardless of who the Steelers’ next quarterback is, they have work to do. They need to rebuild the offensive line, again, and perhaps find another offensive line coach to do it. They have to figure out whether or not they have a successful offensive coordinator, and if not, find one. They need another wide receiver, too.