Dunlap: Preseason NFL Action – It’s Fantastic!

I can’t wait to see the Steelers in action against the Eagles, Titans, Packers and Panthers.

Colin Dunlap
June 18, 2018 - 1:44 pm
Mason Rudolph and Ben Roethlisberger

93.7 The Fan/Josh Rowntree

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Can’t believe I’m going to say this. My Lord, take my temperature, check my vitals, blood pressure and everything. It feels funny just thinking it, let alone letting the words come from my lips and saying it. 

OK, deep breath. 

And one more for good measure. 

OK, here goes … 

I’m looking forward to the four Steelers preseason football games. Let me be more emphatic; I can’t wait to see the Steelers in action against the Eagles, Titans, Packers and Panthers.

Wow. Can’t believe I just said that. Can’t believe I have a hankering for preseason football, but that’s just the truth of it right now. And it has nothing to do with the Pirates hovering around the .500 mark or the Penguins having a season that ended uncharacteristically – without a Stanley Cup parade. 

Know why? Because, in my estimation, the Steelers actually have a position battle (an important position battle) that will play out in those games. 

This whole Landry Jones v. Mason Rudolph thing intrigues the living heck out of me and it will be a conflict that will be decided in the preseason. Yeah, maybe this is my I’m-a-Western-Pennsylvanian-and-will-consume-all-things-football side showing up a bit too much here, but I am 100 percent all-in on the backup to Ben Roethlisberger tussle and how it plays out both in camp and especially in game action during those preseason games. 

The bigger part in all of this is that I think, for the first time, a true succession plan for life without Big Ben has been hatched. No longer do the Steelers just employ emergency seat warmers or guys who can jump in there and mop up for Ben if need be, but on their payroll is the real, longtime, franchise quarterback for years to come when Ben decides that Ben has had enough. That guy, make no mistake, is Rudolph. 

It was knocked around before the NFL Draft that the Steelers --- most notably Mike Tomlin --- coveted him and then that notion was more than solidified when the organization took the strides they did to secure his services.

But do they make Rudolph the backup from Day One in camp?

What if he plays lights out in the preseason games? 

Does a great mini-camp --- by all accounts something he just had --- weigh into any of this? 

Could Landry Jones lose the backup job during the preseason, no matter how bad he plays? 

Has Landry Jones been told his job is on the line right now? 

Has Rudolph been told there’s no way he could be the backup this season? 

What if Jones is bad and Rudolph is great in the preseason, can the depth chart change even if the design was to have Rudolph as the No. 3 guy for the year? 

These are all valid questions and ones I cannot wait to see play out. I’m telling you, it might sound ridiculous to some, but I am all-in on the Mason Rudolph train and all-in for Steelers preseason football because of it. I’m excited to see what well-thought-out steps the Steelers have in mind for his progress. 

Because, in my opinion at least, I’m firmly and wholeheartedly convinced he is the next franchise quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers after Big Ben decides to walk away from football --- whenever that might be.   ​

 

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