Sunday night’s loss to the Chiefs ended the Steelers season and anyone who watched the 42-21 Kansas City win is surely aware that it almost certainly also marked the end of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s career.
The prospect of life without Roethlisberger was a topic of conversation during wide receiver Diontae Johnson‘s final media session of the season. Johnson said it will be “different” without Roethlisberger around and that he knows he’ll have to “get that connection down” with next year’s starter.
Johnson mentioned that will be the case with “whoever they bring in,” but the team will have Roethlisberger’s backup Mason Rudolph back with the team. Johnson was asked how much upside he sees in Rudolph’s game.
“I see a lot. Mason is a great player, great quarterback,” Johnson said. “He’s smart. Playing with him my rookie year, he’s shown he can win us games. In those tough moments, too, he can make plays. He’s relaxed. And at times on the sideline this year, he was always on it, telling us what to look for, what coverages they mostly were in. Just throwing out plays we could use to beat certain coverages and whatnot. So, he’s a great player. I’m sure he’s going to work his tail off to compete for the starting job. I’m pulling for him.”
The Steelers also have Dwayne Haskins on the roster and it remains to be seen what other moves they make in the coming months to fill out the group. The size of those swings will likely determine how much of a chance Rudolph has to be the next man up in Pittsburgh.