Entering his fifth training camp as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mason Rudolph had a long road ahead of him to not only try and win the starting quarterback job in the Steel City, but ensure he at least had a spot on the 53-man roster in a rather crowded quarterback room.
Stating to the media prior to the first practice session Wednesday that he was going to block out all the noise and treat every rep like it’s his last, Rudolph has come out strong in a pivotal training camp for not only his time with the Steelers, but his career in the NFL as a whole.
Through two practices — it’s important to emphasis that the Steelers have had just two relatively light sessions in helmets — Rudolph has looked like a viable candidate to win the starting job in the three-way competition with veteran free agent signee Mitch Trubisky and rookie first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett.
Rudolph’s performance on the field has raised some eyebrows externally, but that hasn’t been the case from the perspective of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Speaking with reporters Thursday following the second day of training camp at Saint Vincent college in Latrobe, Tomlin stated that what Rudolph has done through two days has been nothing out of the usual in terms of his general approach to business throughout his career.
“Yeah, he’s been Mason. He’s taken advantage of the opportunities,” Tomlin stated to reporters Thursday following practice, according to video via Steelers.com. “He’s been detailed. He’s doing a good job of communicating with others. He’s been competitive. Not anything out of the usual in terms of his approach to business.”
That might sound a bit like cold water being poured on Rudolph’s start to training camp by Tomlin, but that’s not the case. In fact, Tomlin shouldn’t be surprised by how Rudolph has performed in a training camp setting like the one at Latrobe, considering he’s gone through it before and a veteran at this point in his career.
It’s worth mentioning that Rudolph should look good early on, considering he’s more familiar with the playmakers on the Steelers’ offense compared to guys like Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, and has experience in second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s system.
He should be thriving in this setting from a detail and communication perspective, as he’s not new to the team like the other two quarterbacks are.
Rudolph is certainly off to a strong start in his bid to win the starting job. Can he keep it up and really push for the starting job to open the 2022 season on the road Week 1 on Sept. 11 at Cincinnati? That remains to be seen. He has the right approach going for him right now, though.