With Ben Roethlisberger‘s pending retirement, the Steelers will open 2022 with a new starting quarterback for the first time in a long, long time.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said this week that “all options are on the table” when it comes to finding Pittsburgh’s next QB1. But there’s a chance that person might already be on the Steelers’ roster.
At least that’s how Mason Rudolph would like to see it play out. The 2018 third-round pick has started 10 games for Pittsburgh in the last three seasons, compiling a 5-4-1 record. But Rudolph hasn’t exactly looked the part when he’s received his opportunities. he’s completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,366 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 17 appearances.
Still, Rudolph is looking forward to getting a chance to start without Roethlisberger on the roster.
“I am a competitive person and I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Rudolph said, via Teresa Varley of the Steelers’ website. “I think I can be the guy next year and that’s my plan. I want to be the guy. My goal is to look forward to when we come back here and control what I can control. I know that I am going to compete. … It is encouraging to know I have as good a chance as any this year as opposed to the last four years when I had zero chance. That’s going to motivate me to put my best foot forward.”
Rudolph said he’s learned plenty from being the backup quarterback and taking the reps he has. And he feels like he’s developed plenty from when he started eight games back in 2019 when Roethlisberger was out with an elbow injury.
“I am not going to be anybody that I am not,” Rudolph said. “Being a backup quarterback challenged me and made me treat the mental side of football with more reverence. I am going to be myself. If you talk to my teammates, they know who I am. They know I am a leader. I am excited to take that next step.”
Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are currently with the Steelers. But other options are likely to come available for Pittsburgh once the coaching carousel slows down and the quarterback carousel begins to spin.