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Tomlin: Steelers’ Offensive Game Plan Did Not Change without Ben Roethlisberger

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers were thrown a wrench at the last minute when Ben Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19. With it quite literally being the night before, they had no time to adjust the game plan to Mason Rudolph’s strengths and weaknesses. While it is easy to simply say change it, the entire team had been practicing the specific gameplan meant for Roethlisberger all week. As such, Mike Tomlin was adamant that the gameplan was not changed to coddle to Rudolph.

“Really weren’t a lot of adjustments,” Tomlin said of the gameplan. “He was symptomatic on Saturday. We tested him. He was positive. We’re thoughtful about distancing him from the group anyway in an effort to protect him and so wasn’t a lot of concern about contacts and things of that nature. We just simply elevated Dwayne Haskins and moved forward.”

The players backed it up, too. Najee Harris said the gameplan was the same thing they had practiced all week, with nothing being changed for Rudolph. Even for Rudolph, who did have a conversation with Matt Canada about the gameplan, it did not change much specifically to cater to Rudolph’s strengths.

“No. I think we talked last night, Coach [Matt] Canada and Coach [Mike] ,Sullivan,” Rudolph said. “They’ve always done a great job, whether it was last year in the last week of the season, just giving me a lot of input. And every quarterback is different with what they like and the situational football: third downs, red zone, two-point play. We had a long conversation, and they were honed in on what I like, which I don’t think changed much. But there are different plays that maybe that Ben didn’t like, and we like different things. You try to get that communicated.”

As such, with no full week to prepare, the Steelers may have given Rudolph a Roethlisberger gameplan of which he did not feel comfortable with overall. Regardless of the idea of it all, Rudolph will have a full week to prepare for the Chargers in the case that Roethlisbeger can not play next Sunday.

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