The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Exactly how ‘mobile’ is Mason Rudolph as a quarterback, relative to Matt Canada’s offense?
It’s generally a pretty good idea to pay attention to the general trends that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks about when he touches on global discussions about the game of football, because they tend to be clues about where he’s heading.
When he started talking repeatedly about football becoming a sub-package game, surprise surprise, they started playing more sub-package football and using a wider variety of sub-packages. The topic of the last two offseasons as it concerns the quarterback position is the need for mobility.
Will their starting quarterback in 2022 have the kind of mobility Tomlin is talking about, if that quarterback is Mason Rudolph? While the fifth-year veteran is rightly criticized for his statuesque presence in the pocket, that is more a product of his diagnostic speed and alertness rather than his physical ability to move from side to side.
Even a quarterback like Tom Brady is actually quite adept at navigating the pocket, which I think is probably more what Tomlin is referring to than the sort of electric runs you see from Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, or even the more balanced approach from a Josh Allen.
Mason Rudolph isn’t any of those, but I think the tape that we did see last season—albeit highly limited—did offer some indications that he is becoming more composed and aware. Even a play where Kendrick Green botched a snap but Rudolph was quickly able to reel it in and get off a pass shows that. There were even a couple of plays in which he showed legitimate escapability. But working from such a small sample size, can we really extrapolate from that that that is the sort of norm we could anticipate if he plays a full season? And how often can you write a sentence in which you can correctly use ‘that’ three times in sequence?