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Titans OC Thinks Mason Rudolph’s Best Ball is Ahead of Him



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

Despite Mason Rudolph’s strong play down the stretch last season, there was no official contract offer on the table for Rudolph from the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Kaboly also stated that Rudolph decided minutes after Russell Wilson signed he wasn’t coming back.

Rudolph ended up landing with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal. It’s a pretty good spot for Rudolph, as there’s a solid chance that he could supplant Will Levis as the starter if things go haywire for the second-year quarterback out of Kentucky.

Former Steelers guard Ramon Foster recently revealed on his podcast with Dejan Kovacevic of DK Pittsburgh Sports that the Titans are extremely high on Rudolph’s potential and upside. Foster hosts a radio show in Nashville and is close friends with Rudolph.

“He’s enjoying himself. We talked about some very specific stuff, you know about how he felt. I think it was good that he got to do something outside the city. I think he needed it,” Foster said. ‘Their offensive coordinator (Nick Holtz) spoke today and the Titans have some high praise about Mason. He said, ‘He was a guy we evaluated and looking at his tape, his command at the line of scrimmage, how he checked and how he audibled, and his decisiveness and his play. We think his best ball is ahead of him.’ They think highly of the kid. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder.”

Rudolph responded with the best play of his career last season, completing 55 of 75 (74.3%) for 719 yards (10.5 yards per attempt) and a 118.0 quarterback rating. He led the Steelers to three straight victories and a playoff spot, before losing in the Wild Card round to the Buffalo Bills.

The 28-year-old Rudolph was the final member of the Steelers’ 2018 NFL Draft class that remained on the team. He spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, playing in 21 games and making 13 starts.

His most extensive playing time came in 2019, when he was the backup to Ben Roethlisberger and was thrust into a starting role when Roethlisberger was lost for the season to an elbow injury in the first half of Week 2.

Mason Rudolph started eight games and completed 176 of 283 passes (62.2%) for 1,765 yards (6.2 yards per attempt) and an 82.0 passer rating. Rudolph dealt with two injuries of his own that forced him from action, and he was benched at one point during the season for former fourth-stringer Devlin “Duck” Hodges.

Rudolph returned to a backup role after that, making one start each behind Roethlisberger in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, he entered a three-way competition for quarterback with free agent Mitch Trubisky and first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and finished in third. He was active for just one game all season and did not make an appearance.

Rudolph’s strong 2023 season got him some offers in free agency that weren’t there last year, and he lands in a strong position to back up Levis in Tennessee. The former second-round pick had an up-and-down rookie season, and is positioned to be a potential future long-term starter, but is less proven than many other first-rank starters.