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Mason Rudolph

(Chaz Palla/Tribune-Review)

Can Mason Rudolph Keep The Steelers Playoff Hopes Alive?

Mason Rudolph
(Chaz Palla/Tribune-Review)

If you would have told me, after the solid off-season the Pittsburgh Steelers had, that this team would start 0-2 I would have laughed. But that is the current situation, and to make matters worse Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year with an elbow injury. Is time now to start considering life after Ben? Read why it might be here. Is the season over? Not if you ask new starting Quarterback Mason Rudolph it isn’t. And if you asked the front office, they don’t believe it is either after acquiring DB Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in a shocking trade yesterday. The time is now for Mason Rudolph to show if he can take the reigns of this franchise and keep them in playoff contention.

Background

Mason Rudolph, a 6’5 strong-arm Quarterback from Oklahoma state drafted in the 3rd round in 2018, had a prolific albeit and successful college career. Rudolph threw for nearly 5,000 yards in his senior season with 37 touchdowns to a mere 9 interceptions. He led the Cowboys to 3 straight bowl games as their starter, going 2-1 and winning Camping World Bowl MVP. His completion percentage went up every year he was in Stillwater, ending with a career-high 65% his senior year. Mason Rudolph showed a lot of potential at the NFL Scouting Combine as well, slowly rising up draft boards until the Pittsburgh Steelers nabbed him with the 76th pick.

New Season Preview

Looking at the next stretch of games, Mason Rudolph has his work cut out for him. His first career start, the Steelers travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers, who look solid to start their campaign. After that, a bit of relief comes by the way of a home game against the Cincinnati Bengals with first-year head coach Zac Taylor. A home game against the always tough, yet overhyped in my opinion Baltimore Ravens then heading to play in a soccer stadium in Los Angeles against the Chargers. If Rudolph can survive this first four games, they get their bye week in week 7 then virtually another bye week hosting Miami. The second half of the year is considerably much easier than the first, so expect this offense to find its groove and develop chemistry coming out of the bye.

So what does this all mean? Can Mason Rudolph keep the Pittsburgh Steelers hopes alive for a wildcard birth? Can he somehow lead this young team to a division crown? I wouldn’t go as far as to say the division, but who knows about the wildcard. Their only tough games after the bye are hosting the Rams and their season finale on the road in Baltimore. As a Steelers fan, I’m trying to temper my expectations and try to stay somewhat bias. Mason Rudolph looked good against Seattle, but thats because they didn’t gameplan for him. Teams now have tape on Rudolph. If all goes well, I can see this team making a late push for the wildcard. But in my honest opinion, I have the Steelers ending the season at 8-8 and finishing third in the division. But man, would I love to be wrong. Ball out, Mason Rudolph. Pittsburgh is counting on you.

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