Ben Roethlisberger Out For The Season
On Sunday the Steelers lost more than the game versus the Seahawks, they lost their starting quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season with an undisclosed elbow injury and is going to need surgery. This injury comes less than a week after trading their third string quarterback, Josh Dobbs, to Jacksonville. Now with Roethlisberger out and Dobbs in Florida, Mason Rudolph is taking the reigns. Rudolph was a second round pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma State and had question marks on how his performance in Mike Gundy's offense would translate into the NFL. Rudolph has a big arm and a nice connection with WR James Washington, but there are so many question marks with this team. Here are my biggest questions for the Steelers: Was that the last time we see Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh? Can Mason Rudolph lead the Steelers to the playoffs? Is Mason Rudolph the Steelers "guy"? Is James Conner healthy? Are there enough pieces around Mason Rudolph to be successful? There are a lot of concerns for the Steelers, but this is what I had to say about Rudolph coming into the draft back in 2018.
"On tape it seems that his players believe in him and will rally with him. Even though, he is great with his progressions he isn’t always the most accurate. He needs to improve on his touch passes and making sure not to misses on his one one ones. He doesn’t have Lamar Jackson like mobility but can move around in the pocket similar to Ben Roethlisberger, he is great at stepping into the pocket and doesn’t throw too many interceptions. He doesn’t get sack too often but when he does he needs to make sure to hold on to the ball. I enjoyed watching his chemistry with other teammates like James Washington and think he’ll be able to create a nice duo with one of his pro teammates. I was very impressed with his ability to read a defense and find the open receiver, if he can improve on his accuracy I’d say he’ll go in the first round."
A lot has changed since 2018, but this is encouraging for Pittsburgh. I said he has similar pocket mobility to Ben Roethlisberger and has a great connection with James Washington who's with him in Pittsburgh. If Conner is healthy, Juju starts making plays, and the connection with Washington is still valid; the Steelers should be in good shape. This is a bad week for Rudolph to make his first start though. They have to go across the country and face one of the scariest front sevens in the 49ers. If San Fransisco starts getting to Rudolph early, they can shake his confidence. I think Rudolph's success will be dictated by how he plays early. It all has to do with his confidence and if he can light up the 49ers early, that will be big for his future.
There are many possibilities for the Steelers backup quarterback. Currently the number two quarterback for Pittsburgh is Devlin Hodges. Hodges has been on the Steelers practice squad so he knows Mike Tomlin's offense. While it's good to have familiarity with the offense, I think they should look at some players who don't have as much familiarity. Guys who are either free agents or available for trades. I think CJ Beathard would be a good option. He is the third string quarterback for the 49ers and has a lot of game experience. He has a similar playing style to Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh shouldn't have to give up more than a 4th or 5th round pick. If they want to look at the free agent market, Landry Jones would make a lot of sense. I'm not too sure how the logistics would work because he signed the first ever XFL deal, but I'm sure there is some way he can get out of it. Jones played in this system for years so it could definitely be an option. They could also get a guy like Cardale Jones for cheap. If they want to throw a total curveball they can look in the way of Colin Kaepernick, but as he's been many times in the past, he'll probably be robbed of this opportunity.
Another questions I have for the Steelers is, could this be a blessing in disguise? By the way it looked, Big Ben had the power to make big decisions for the Steelers. He had just as much power as Mike Tomlin, and that should never be the case. If Mason Rudolph plays his ass of in Roethlisberger's absence he could potentially take over as starting quarterback. The Steelers didn't look like superbowl contenders this year prior to the injury, so now it could be a transition year to Rudolph taking over as the franchise quarterback. If you're a Steelers fan, this needs to be the outlook. All I can say is stay faithful Steelers fans.