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Agreed: Mason Rudolph should look elsewhere. “He shouldn’t trust Tomlin.”


Mason will not be selling real estate next year


… Steelers “had not scored 30 points in a game until Rudolph’s first start”


Sometimes, justice prevails. Not often in the U.S. court system … but sometimes, it happens in sports.


And, Mason Rudolph’s patience bought him justice, and he has carved out an opportunity for himself.


Rudolph saved the Steelers’ season when it was in the pits after consecutive losses to the woeful Cardinals and Patriots. To three-win teams.


And the only writer about the Steelers who has been willing to take Tomlin to task this year over the woeful play of his quarterbacks says that Rudy should never, ever re-sign with the Steelers after this season.


Now, perhaps he is collapse after leading the team to its best offensive performance not just this year, but in the past three to five years.


Here is the argument


Let’s go back to when Tomlin was hired 17 years ago. He made one great decision about coaches: It was his last positive coaching move.


He kept Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator, which was very positive. From 2004 when he started as Steeler DC until 2011, a period of eight years, the Steelers last SB appearance in history, the team was 89-39, winning 70 percent of their games, two Super Bowls and one appearance.


While he made one good choice, he may bungled many more. Particularly on offense.


However, defensive coaches often struggle with the offense. Tomlin has shown that with Rudolph whose only chance was a shortened tenure in 2019 when he was benched after being mangled by a Cincinnati linebacker.


Madden explains,


Rudolph’s performances in beating Cincinnati and Seattle have been the Steelers’ two best at the quarterback position since Ben Roethlisberger retired, and arguably dating back through when Roethlisberger returned from elbow surgery in 2020.


At next season’s training camp, Rudolph should be in legitimate competition with Pickett for the starter’s job, with the result not preordained like at 2022’s camp.


That’s if Rudolph re-ups with the Steelers. If Rudolph can get opportunity that’s better and more honest elsewhere, he should take it. He shouldn’t trust Tomlin.


Tomlin has mostly mangled the quarterback position whenever Roethlisberger hasn’t been available. (Witness Tomlin sitting Rudolph in favor of Duck Hodges in 2019.) Defensive-minded head coaches do that. They don’t understand the other side of the ball, especially in today’s high-octane era.


Mark Madden, “Mason Rudolph has earned Steelers’ starting job, but Mike

Tomlin doesn’t like to be wrong,” Tribune-Review, January 1, 2024


However, he points out that Kenny Pickett was a number one pick, at the behest or insistence of Tomlin though no one had him ranked as a number 1 selection in 2022.


The major concern with Pickett, whom I like, is that he has not delivered, Using the compare and contrast technique, Madden makes the argument,


Rudolph is doing almost everything right. Outside of a few memorable drives that are the exception and not the rule, Pickett has done most things wrong. In some ways historically so.


Pickett has the worst touchdowns per passing attempts ratio in NFL history for any quarterback with 500 or more throws: 1.82%. Thirteen TDs in 713 passes.


Yards after catch seems a foreign concept to Pickett. Rudolph has made it a specialty.


Rudolph is running the same offense Pickett did. But Rudolph is unafraid and making better reads.


Mark Madden, Tribune-Review, January 1, 2024


The reality is that there is likely to be no QB controversy next year in Pittsburgh because he is likely to have some offers elsewhere.


Are the Vikings seriously considering paying Kirk Cousins, who has one playoff win in six years, $37 million to return? They obviously have no Plan B, and they have no backups.


This would generally mean that assuming Rudolph does well next week, there would be a QB controversy entering the 2024 season. Madden believes that Rudolph will receive some legitimate offers that will finally pay him big bucks, and that come fall of 2024, Rudolph will be gone.


He is right.


Was he really looking for a real estate job?


The story has been floating around about how Rudolph was dusting off resumes figuring he would be out of work after this season.


And then, because he was forced to, Tomlin gave him the chance,


Sitting at home without an NFL contract seven months ago, Mason Rudolph opened up a Microsoft Word document he hadn't edited since his freshman year at Oklahoma State.


It was time to update his résumé, he thought, with his life seeming to approach a crossroads. Once a third-round draft pick with an arm that helped him become OSU's all-time winningest quarterback and career leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and total offense, Rudolph's entire life had played out on the gridiron. At that moment, though, Rudolph realized it might be time to start thinking about life after football.


Remember his postgame quip after the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, wondering if he'd be in commercial real estate next year? That wasn't a joke.


"I didn't know what was going to happen, and I wanted to have a plan B and think about a plan B a bit," Rudolph said Wednesday of his mindset earlier this year. "Your whole life you're doing one thing and your head's down and I'm, I'm not going to think about it. And I had a little bit of time with family to kind of think about maybe what I might be interested in, and I still had a lot of confidence that I was going to get an opportunity somewhere.


Brooke Pryor, “Why Mason Rudolph’s spotlight moment could

have future meaning,” ESPN, December 29, 2023


So, I agree with Madden. Rudolph should explore the free market, regardless of how well he does on Sunday. He has demonstrated that he can throw the ball down the field. He has made problematic receiver George Pickens look like the talent the Steelers saw on the field when they drafted him — despite his personal quirks.


That did not happen with either Pickett or Trubisky.


I would love to see Mason succeed with the Steelers beyond this year, but he would be best looking elsewhere.


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