Dunlap: Rudolph Won’t Be An Overnight Thing

Colin Dunlap
October 30, 2019 - 6:39 am
Mason Rudolph

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Can you calm down already?

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I mean, I know this is something that is next to impossible, but can you be patient as a sports fan? Especially as a Pittsburgh sports fan? Can you find it in you?

You are going to have to. Even if you don’t want to. That’s just the reality here --- so get accustomed to it.

You see, Mason Rudolph won’t be an overnight sensation. He isn’t going to walk into an NFL huddle and immediately rise to the level at which he’s going to be one of the finest quarterbacks in the league. That won’t happen, that isn’t happening and to be entirely truthful, it could happen with only a few signal-callers drafted in the past few decades. We have grown entirely too impatient and intolerant about processes as sports fans. Things take time but you don’t want to hear such nonsense. I get it though, we expect a plug-and-play from everyone because, in the world of sports, such a notion is becoming more prevalent in other areas.

I’m just going to lay it out like this: The assimilation of Mason Rudolph to what I feel will eventually be the every-single-week starter and franchise quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers will take a little time. And we are what? A month or so into it? Calm down. Relax. Again, it’s a process.

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That’s why it was ludicrous that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin faced a boneheaded and misguided question at his most recent Tuesday press gathering about why Duck Hodges wasn’t warming up when Rudolph got off to a slow start against the Dolphins that saw The Fish jolt to a two touchdown lead. The game served as what I think will be a microcosm of his career; a steady climb throughout getting progressively better. There were bumps early, but he ultimately prevailed and showed why his skillset can command a game.

But, again, we are impatient. And we are also forgetting this is Rudolph, a guy who wasn’t expected to play at this point but still has thrown for nine touchdowns in 83 passes, is projected to throw for over 2,000 yards, has a game in which he went 24 for 28, survived an injury wherein they ended up screwing off his facemask and has taken more than command of the offense. Mason Rudolph is the quarterback for now, make no mistake. Mason Rudolph is the quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger’s days are done for good --- make no mistake, those are the designs for this franchise right now.

But we want it now. We want a Super Bowl kinda guy right now. Also playing into this is that sensational rookie season Ben Roethlisberger had. We remember it and celebrate it and, in a way, we expect it from Rudolph. I think I look at it differently --- I have thought about the perspective of just how special Big Ben’s rookie season was and how few, if really any others, will have a rookie season like he did. That’s why it’s almost unfair to ask Rudolph to perform the same. I also get it that Rudolph is a big boy and all the training wheels are off, but I really do think we always use Roethlisberger’s sensational rookie season as a point of reference when in reality it is something that is unattainable to most.

So, yeah, Rudolph will get there. He will be very good. I’m confident in that; I’m betting on it. I know you hate to hear this and this might even bother you some, but that rise to being a very good NFL quarterback for Rudolph will take time.   ​

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