PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will enters his fourth NFL season this fall, and it has not been easy thus far for the young signal-caller from a coaching standpoint.
Having run through multiple quarterback coaches and now a second offensive coordinator with Matt Canada replacing Randy Fichtner this offseason, the turnover for Rudolph has been something that has marked his career journey.
However, that is something that Rudolph embraces, and more importantly, believes is not a downfall, but rather a strength of his career. Lots of his ability to keep up and advance in his play he attributes to the veteran leadership of Ben Roethlisberger.
“There are so many positives you can take from being under a Hall of Fame quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger over three years,” Rudolph said. “Watching him work, watching him lead, and watching him interact with people are some.”
Rudolph went on to add that he enjoyed working with all his previous quarterbacks coaches, and he believes that they all have helped in some way.
“I enjoyed Randy Fichter,” Rudolph said. “From day one, he was there with me. I think he really helped me grow.”
However, Rudolph’s most effusive praise came for his last quarterbacks coach and the new offensive coordinator in Canada. Rudolph believes Canada is perhaps the main reason for his growth as a football player.
“Having Matt Canada, having a quarterbacks coach last year really helped me take some steps forward and develop,” Rudolph said. “Having that confidant who I can go to week-to-week and ask questions was big. He did a great job of having me ready. Obviously, in all but one game I was slotted to be the backup. But he still had a plan for me, like you know, ‘what are your favorites’ or ‘what’s your top ten drop back concepts, RPOs, or play action.'”
Canada’s coaching style was praised by Rudolph strictly towards himself in the quarterbacks, but he believes that teaching style can translate to Canada’s new role as an offensive coordinator.
“Matt’s got a lot of great concepts,” Rudolph said. “He’s bringing a lot of energy to our offense. He’s very detail-oriented. He’s a great teacher. You know, he’ll be out there and he teaches. It’s his baby, it’s offense and he knows it. He’s been great giving us direct answers.”
As for new quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, Rudolph painted a picture of a detailed, methodical coach who is focused on all the little things.
“It’s been great with Mike,” Rudolph said. “He’s a drill guy. He’s a structure- and detail-oriented guy.”
As for what Sullivan is specifically looking to improve upon with all the quarterbacks this season, Rudolph highlighted the little things and the much bigger thing of footwork.
“He’s big on footwork,” Rudolph said. “He’s big on the little things like carrying out fakes and being diligent. That’s been great because we all appreciate that.”
It seems Rudolph believes that the Steelers have a great ecosystem for quarterbacks to learn and grow over the course of a season. From Roethlisberger’s veteran savvy to Canada’s teaching to now Sullivan’s stinginess, the quarterbacks will be expected to do a lot in Pittsburgh.