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Steelers Name Mason Rudolph as Starting QB for Bengals Game; Trubisky Benched



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
Steelers QB Mason Rudolph against the Indianapolis Colts, Dec. 18, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are benching Mitch Trubisky for quarterback Mason Rudolph for this week’s game versus the Bengals. After extensive struggles from Trubisky, including two interceptions and just one touchdown, he has been benched for Rudolph. Rudolph prepared for that role last week but only played during the team’s final drive against the Colts.

On Monday, Mike Tomlin named Rudolph the starter due to their comfortability with his level of play and what he can bring to the table. Tomlin says that they will get Rudolph as many snaps as possible throughout the week to prepare him, but he did not rule out Kenny Pickett coming off his ankle injury yet, either. The change was simple for Tomlin, he is not seeing what he wants from the offense, and while it’s not all Trubisky’s fault, he has a say in it.

“We don’t like what we’re looking at and the consistency of it,” Tomlin said. “I’m not trying to lay it all at Mitch’s feet…it’s more about Mason Rudolph being deserving of an opportunity.”

Rudolph hasn’t started a game since the 2021 season when he started in place of Ben Roethlisberger, who was out with COVID-19 against the Detroit Lions. Rudolph finished that game 30 of 50 for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also appeared in one garbage time appearance that season. But Rudolph, once the villainized player in the fandom, has been on both sides of these chants at the their game against the Patriots.

“I’ve been on both sides of that, so, I know it’s cliche, but really all I was trying to do was look at the iPads and help the collective offense,” Rudolph said. “I wanted to help them get ready for the next drive. You really can’t get caught up in that because then you lose focus and it affects your mental state. Obviously, it’s nice to be liked, but we have passionate fans, but you can’t let that enter your mind for a second.”

After the game, Rudolph said that if called upon, he would be ready to go.

“Everything if, if that, if that happens, if you think so, I’m confident in the way I stayed sharp all season and, you know, this isn’t my rookie year,” Rudolph said. “The staff always puts a good plan together. If I get the nod, I’ll be ready to roll.”

The Steelers’ third-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2018, Rudolph has played in 17 games and made 10 starts, with a career completion percentage of 61.5% and an 80.9 passer rating. Rudolph is a different player than Trubisky if they decided to change quarterbacks.