PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are focused on knocking off the Baltimore Ravens, and that means the short-term quarterback option is Mason Rudolph, who led Pittsburgh to two straight wins. But does that mean Kenny Pickett’s tenure as the franchise quarterback is over? Maybe, maybe not. Mike Tomlin would not get into those logistics before their Week 18 game.
“I’m just looking at where we are and what we need to do this week,” Tomlin said. “That’s probably more of an end of the year type analysis, man. And we’re on a short week and we’re trying to put together a formula to win this game.”
Tomlin says those hypotheticals, even for the playoffs, are fruitless for the team. He is right when the focus is on winning the game in front of you. But Tomlin and the rest of the front office know they have some massive decisions to make at the quarterback position this offseason.
Pittsburgh will pick too high land for a marquee quarterback talent in the NFL Draft, too. But if a surprise trade could land a franchise quarterback, that is an avenue they have to explore. They could re-sign Rudolph and create a competition with Pickett. What will happen is anyone’s best guess for the Steelers.
On the season, Rudolph is 37 of 54 for 567 yards. He’s completed 68.5% of his passes, has not thrown an interception compared to two touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 115.3. It’s only two games, but the last time the Steelers had a quarterback finish the season with a passer rating over 100 was Ben Roethlisberger in 2014. The last time any quarterback finished a year with a passer rating as high as Rudolph’s is right now was in 2006, when Charlie Batch finished with a 121.0 in parts of eight games.
Pickett has missed the last four games with an ankle injury but is now cleared. So, it would likely be him backing up Rudolph. But anything for the offseason and beyond is all speculation at this point, and the Steelers have not laid their claim to their plan.