Rudolph, Dobbs Assess Play Against Eagles

Steelers rookie explains defective football controversy

Josh Rowntree
August 11, 2018 - 2:44 pm
Steelers backup quarterbacks Josh Dobbs, Landry Jones and Mason Rudolph in 2018 training camp.

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

There will not be a ‘Deflategate’ 2.0. 

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph threw a pass intended for fellow rookie Damoun Patterson during the third quarter of Thursday’s 31-14 preseason win over Philadelphia. He knew something was up with the football right away. 

“I got the snap and the thing was completely flat, like to where it would not have been an advantage,” Rudolph said, while laughing. “That was the weirdest thing.

“It’s one of those balls that’s in your grandfather’s garage for two years and you’ve never thrown it and it’s completely flat. It was a bad deal.”

The NFL released a statement that the ball in question was defective and would be sent back to it’s maker, Wilson, for review. 

Beyond the momentary controversy, there were a trio of respectable performances from Pittsburgh’s singnal callers. 

With Ben Roethlisberger sitting, Landry Jones started the game and went 4-for-4 for 83 yards, finding JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 71-yard touchdown. Josh Dobbs took over, throwing for 91 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while rushing for 19 yards. 

“I feel like it was a good day,” Dobbs said. “It’s been a while, so it was to get back out there, compete as an offense. We were able to move the ball down the field.”

Rudolph was under center to begin the second half and ended up leading the team with 101 passing yards. He failed to lead a touchdown drive, but did not turn the ball over. 

“I felt pretty good about it,” he said. “I thought there were some mistakes, some big plays and a whole lot of learning… Glad I got one under my belt.”

Both quarterbacks were impressed with Patterson, an undrafted rookie out of Youngstown State who led the team with six catches for 77 yards. Dobbs found a leaping, spinning Patterson in the back of the end zone to cap a two-minute drill to end the half.

“He did a great job responding,” Dobbs said. “We were trying to take a shot after we got a turnover. So then, as an offense, it was cool to see guys continue to rally and come down the field and lead an efficient drive before the half. And then he made a heck of a play in the back of the end zone.”

Rudolph did not seem surprised by the rookie’s play.

“It’s what we’ve seen from him all of camp,” he said. “He’s been great, he’s been explosive. He’s a smart guy, runs really crisp routes, he made great plays and he had fun doing it.”

Without Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh’s running backs got extended looks, as the Steelers rushed for 93 total yards. But the backs accounted for 55 receiving yards as well. 

“They’ve been doing a great job in camp, whether it’s on protections, running the ball hard and even in the pass concepts, getting out and giving us an opportunity as outlets,” Dobbs said. “We expect a lot out of our running back group… they were able to make their plays.”

Rudolph, meanwhile, kept his Oklahoma State chemistry alive with rookie wideout James Washington, who snagged two passes for 44 yards, including a jumping 35-yard reception on a free play in the third quarter. 

“I probably could have gone to James a couple more times throughout the game,” Rudolph said. “But, I thought it was pretty natural.”

While in college, Rudolph and Washington ran a quick-paced brand of offense. Huddling in a game was something a bit new for both of them. 

“Just how much slower the game is and how much more thinking goes into it in college when you’re just going high tempo, fast, up-and-down the field,” Rudolph added. “Seeing that live, in person, was a little bit of an adjustment. But, that’s how the game is. I’m going to embrace it and keep executing it.”

Hear more from Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs below.