UNITY TWP., Pa — Mason Rudolph has plenty of doubters. He may hear the doubters, too, but Rudolph is paying no mind to them. If anyone has watched the first three practices in Latrobe, Rudolph might just look like the best quarterback out of any of the four. To count Rudolph out of the race would be a mistake.
Even still, that did happen with Rudolph, as there were even trade talk rumors that swirled around. Still, he was always the number two quarterback on the depth chart behind Mitch Trubisky and in front of Kenny Pickett. His sharp early performances from the camp have caught the attention of a few players, including Chase Claypool.
Claypool came to the defense of Rudolph, who many have counted out. Not only does Claypool think that Rudolph’s accuracy ‘absolutely’ has improved, but that he should be in serious contention to win the starting job outright. He is just the first of many receivers to laud the ability of Rudolph throughout the first three days of training camp.
“Mason, all the receivers say, he’s one of the most accurate quarterbacks,” Claypool said. “It’s crazy how accurate he is. He doesn’t get enough praise and attention. He’s just as in the running as each of those guys.”
Receivers Praise Rudolph’s Ability
Claypool was not the only one who was shouting out from the rooftops about Rudolph’s ability or performance in training camp. Anthony Miller has had himself a solid training camp thus far. While part of that success is hooking up with his old partner Trubisky, Miller has seen firsthand just what Rudolph is bringing to the table. Simply put, it starts with Rudolph’s mental preparation and communication with his receivers.
“Mason’s been here, and he’s been in the game for quite a long time,” Miller said. “I think as long as I have, it’s year five for us. Mason he’s doing an awesome job of adjusting. He realizes he’s in a competition. We really all are in this camp. It’s fun to see everybody compete.”
With Claypool’s shoulder injury and Diontae Johnson’s hold-in, Cody White has been a player that has had an opportunity to step up and get key reps. As such, he has a front and center view of the work that Rudolph has put out on the field. The attribute that stands out to White is not just Rudolph’s accuracy but the mental processing that Rudolph has showcased in the early portion of camp.
“Mason’s been Mason,” White said. “He’s been able to make all the reads, make the throws. He’s been playing very well and doing everything that should be done. You know, he’s helping the new guys come in and learn the playbook. Mason has elevated their game.”
Mason Rudolph is Shutting Out the Noise
Rudolph’s hot start to camp is one that could be somewhat surprising. Compared to Trubisky and Pickett, Rudolph looks sharper. He feels more comfortable and fluid. Of course, he has the advantage of experience in the system, which is always a big help to Rudolph and what he has showcased thus far.
Still, what he has showcased on the field is undeniable. Rudolph is proving he has some serious game left to show the Steelers. The only thing left to take the next step will be to uncork the deep ball and create some more explosive plays. He has taken care of the ball for the most part and looks mentally on point. Part of that is the mental approach he has taken to block out the noise.
“I’m not trying to prove anything,” Rudolph said. “I’ll go out there and let the play do the talking. I’m not trying to convince anybody one way or another for a reason. The coaches and my teammates believe in me and that’s all I can control.”
If it is not from the building, Rudolph is most likely not listening. While he is aware of some of the comments from fans, he is not trying to pay attention to that, and instead is looking to move forward with his play on the field.
“I don’t try to pay attention to negative or positive remarks from fans,” Rudolph said. “They simply don’t matter.”
Will Rudolph win the job? That remains to be seen. However, his early performance in camp is putting him in a real position to do so, and it should be treated like he is a serious contender.