Even after putting together arguably his best offseason yet as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which featured a sparkling training camp and a rather strong preseason showing in three games, veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph finds himself at the bottom of the depth chart under center for the black and gold.
Tough business, the NFL.
Through no fault of his own, and thanks to some sparkling play by Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett ahead of him, Rudolph finds himself as QB3 on the year and will be inactive throughout the season, at least until something happens via trade, injury, or shaking up the depth chart due to performance.
Still, Rudolph has remained professional and carried himself very well throughout the entire ordeal, earning praise from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin Tuesday during his weekly press conference.
“Man, I’ve got so much respect for Mason Rudolph and his approach to this competition and how he performed,” Tomlin said to reporters Tuesday, according to video via Steelers.com. “He didn’t bat an eye. He didn’t blink. Um, he didn’t pout about reps or what groups he was running in. He just…helped those around him be better and get better.”
That’s exactly what Rudolph did right from the jump. He never blinked in the face of competition, even after the Steelers signed Trubisky early in free agency and then drafted Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Some guys at the quarterback position can shrink from competition, especially after a team brings in not one, but two guys at the same position in a sign that they don’t believe in you.
That wasn’t the case with Rudolph, who rose above the outside noise and the doubt and really made it a three-way quarterback competition from Day 1, pushing the Steelers to give him more reps with the twos, and sometimes even the starters.
He looked really strong in training camp, not throwing an interception at all at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, and was very good in preseason action, especially in the second half in Jacksonville, leading the go-ahead scoring drive late in the 16-15 win.
In the end, his strong play wasn’t enough to overtake Trubisky or Pickett on the depth chart. It’s a tough business, but he no doubt has the respect of not only Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff, but his teammates as well. That means something.