The Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB battle has been framed as Mitch Trubisky versus Kenny Pickett. But Ramon Foster thinks most are too quick to dismiss what’s behind door number three: Mason Rudolph. Foster went to bat for Rudolph in a recent interview on 93.7 The Fan with Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller.
“Mason is a damn good quarterback that needs a shot. And I’ll just say this, not just a one or two or three games but the opportunity to actually get comfortable.”
Pittsburgh traded up for and drafted Rudolph back in 2018 with the hopes of him becoming Ben Roethlisberger’s heir. But that plan never quite worked out. For his career, Rudolph sports a 5-4-1 record with 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Much of that came in 2019, his first year playing, and a tough year for a battered and injured offense missing Ben Roethlisberger and plenty of other pieces.
Rudolph has developed into a steadier #2 but it’s clear the team no longer sees that franchise potential. When Roethlisberger retired this offseason, the Steelers sought quarterbacks from every avenue, signing Mitch Trubisky on day one of free agency and drafting a pair of arms, first-rounder Kenny Pickett and seventh-rounder Chris Oladokun.
Still, the team has framed things as a three-way battle for the starting job. And with his veteran experience, Rudolph ran as the #2 during the spring, a pecking order that figures to remain the same to start the summer.
Foster believes whoever the team selects as its starter should be given a longer leash to establish himself instead of being pulled at the first signs of trouble.
“Starting quarterbacks, they catch a rhythm. They gotta find their groove when it comes down to the guys they’re with and can trust.”
Whoever begins the season as the starter will have a tough start to the year. Pittsburgh is on the road Week 1 at Cincinnati followed by a Week 2 home opener against the New England Patriots. Days later, they’re back on the road for a Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns. A fast or slow start will shape and define Pittsburgh’s season.
While Foster may hope Rudolph gets a shot, and he’ll have a chance this summer, the most likely scenario is Trubisky begins the year as the #1. Rudolph beating out both a higher-paid veteran and first-round rookie seems far less likely. Still, many are ready to write the depth chart in pen and there’s a long summer ahead to determine who will fall where.