Pittsburgh Steelers saw turnover at every position on their team except quarterback. That’s because they had two-time Super Bowl winner and future first-ballot Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.
That won’t be the case come next season. Big Ben has retired, and the Steelers will now need to find a replacement at the game’s most important position.
.@Realrclark25 on the thought of Jimmy G becoming a Steeler 😅
"If it is Jimmy G or Mason Rudolph, you sign me freakin' up for the Jimmy G train. … I will wear that jersey on NFL Live and I will sing hoorah." pic.twitter.com/fk6TrGFWIU
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 22, 2022
Former Steelers player and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark isn’t buying the fake love. He talked about it on “Get Up.”
“The Pittsburgh Steelers have failed as an organization. If Mason Rudolph is the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers entering 2022, they are no longer the Pittsburgh Steelers that I love or the fans of Pittsburgh love. They’re no longer the team that decides, every offseason we’re gonna compete for a championship, that we feel like the roster we have constructed is championship-worthy and championship-ready.”
Clark is speaking truth, no way the Steelers could go from Big Ben to Rudolph and expect to be considered contenders. Their defense is very good, but not capable of winning in the AFC without adequate QB play. And let’s be honest: Rudolph isn’t the answer.
Rudolph is entering his fifth season, all in Pittsburgh as either the backup or third-string QB. His record of 5-4-1 when pressed into duty isn’t bad, but those wins are more a reflection of the defense, as the team averages just 13 points with him under center.
General Manager Kevin Colbert has given Rudolph a vote of confidence, but he’ll still do his due diligence by seeing what else is out there.
Here’s what he said a few days ago in a team presser.
Colbert says the Steelers will add QBs: “We know we’re going to add to the position. I can’t tell you how at this point. We will go to camp with four. If we had to start today with Mason as our starter, let’s go. We’ll try to build the best team around him.”
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 21, 2022
Colbert also mentioned Haskins being tendered; with those two QB spots for camp being taken, there are two up for grabs.
Colbert said repeatedly that he expects the team to tender Dwayne Haskins, as @JFowlerESPN previously reported. That gives the Steelers two QBs right now with two spots up for grabs before camp. https://t.co/hm5Wc4PaKn
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 21, 2022
Few Steelers Fans Are Excited About Rudolph Starting:
Following Big Ben’s announcement, ESPN personality Stephen Anthony Smith spoke about Rudolph succeeding him, and let’s just say he wasn’t happy ….
“The thought of Mason Rudolph being the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes me wanna vomit.
“I want to be very, very clear about this. I’m a lifelong Steelers fan. We all know this. I have no problem with him being on the roster. You’re Mike Tomlin, you’re Kevin Colbert, you’re the Rooney family, you can’t go into next season with Mason Rudolph as your quarterback.”
That’s especially true, some find, with an AFC conference full of rising star signal callers.
“You got Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, these people in the AFC conference. You can’t go with Mason Rudolph. No, he’s a backup. Be a backup.”
Steelers Will Look To Trade For A Starter Or Draft One:
With Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson possibly being available, the Steelers will definitely look into adding either of the talented Black signal callers. Both will be expensive in a trade, but both make you contenders overnight. Although this isn’t a particularly strong QB draft, Kenny Pickett (Pitt Panthers), played his home games at Heinz Field.
An NFL source told me yesterday that the #Steelers clearly prefer Liberty QB Malik Willis to Pitt QB Kenny Pickett.
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) February 3, 2022
And then there’s Malik Willis (Liberty Flames), bringing the Lamar Jackson-style of football.
NFL draft guru @TonyPauline on @937theFan talking about Malik Willis: "I know the Steelers absolutely like him…they like a lot of the things they liked about Ben Roethlisberger. Arm strength. Athleticism. Plays he can make in and out of the pocket."
Do you want Malik Willis?
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 16, 2022
Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada Must Become A Better Play Caller No Matter Who The QB Is:
Last season, offensive coordinator Matt Canada was asked what the Steelers would do offensively, and he responded, “We’re gonna do what Ben wants to do.”
That won’t work this season, so he’ll need to adapt his schemes to not look so college-esque against NFL defenses designed to wreak havoc and confuse offenses.
In the end, the Steelers can’t go into a season, conference (AFC), or division (AFC North) with Rudolph as the starter. Expect a trade for a top guy or a draft pick.
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