The Mason Rudolph factor:
2. As a Steelers fan and columnist, how do you respond to the hate regarding Mason Rudolph being the starting quarterback for Pittsburgh even though a third round pick was spent on him to be a presumptive successor to Ben Roethlisberger?
"When the Steelers initially selected Rudolph, not too many people were fans of the pick, Roethlisberger himself being one of those people. As it turns out, that may have been one of the best third round selections by GM Kevin Colbert in years. Rudolph has such a long way to go before we can start to compare him to Roethlisberger, but the early returns on Rudolph are bright despite being held back by an under-performing supporting cast, including offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. As teams begin to gather more film on Rudolph, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the different opportunities thrown at him. Sure, Rudolph took some time to get his feet underneath him after Roethlisberger went out with what was later determined to be a season-ending injury. Yet Rudolph has managed to inject energy into an otherwise stagnant offense under Roethlisberger, so take that for what it’s worth."
Count me in as a fan of Mason Rudolph. Rudolph is more than good enough to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers offense after Ben Roethlisberger hangs it up. While he hasn’t been overly dynamic this season and has played rather conservatively, the Baltimore Ravens mustn’t take him for granted.
A comfortable Mason Rudolph could tear-up a bad Ravens secondary, and James Conner could power the run game to make him more comfortable. Baltimore cannot look passed him.
3. Mason Rudolph has played well, all things considered, and the Ravens secondary is a tad beat-up. Do you expect a big-performance from Rudolph?
"I can’t say I do, despite all the injuries like you mentioned. He’s still a young quarterback, and thus is prone to mistakes. We saw Baker Mayfield drop 342 yards on the Ravens last week, yet I don’t think the Steelers offense is as developed as Cleveland’s at this point in time. Rudolph completed 24 passes last week, yet only 3 were beyond ten yards. He’s in a game manager role as of now, and I simply can’t foresee a defensive secondary that involves Earl Thomas and Marlon Humphrey allowing another 350 yard performance from a quarterback."
Like I previously mentioned, Rudolph has been extremely conservative and a borderline game-manager. The way he played last week is nowhere near good enough to beat Baltimore, however I do believe he can drastically improve his game.
With the solid weapons he possesses and a very good offensive line, Rudolph could pick apart the Ravens defense that misses a good pass rush. If the rest of the secondary can’t step up, Baltimore could be in trouble.