(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The AFC North title is all wrapped up and with only the No. 1 seed getting a bye week under the new playoff format, the Steelers can rest their franchise quarterback and some other key players on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Ben Roethlisberger will serve as basically another quarterback coach for Mason Rudolph on Sunday, who will make his ninth career start.
"I’ll be here for Mason, for Josh (Dobbs), whoever it may be," Roethlisberger said on Wednesday during a Zoom interview with the media. "Kind of like last year, that’s the approach I’m going to take. I never want to step on toes, but I’ll be available for questions, to help my input with Coach Randy, Coach Canada, whoever it may be."
I’ve already talked to Mason about that. That’s going to be my role this week to really try to and do everything I can to be there to answer questions or to be of help to them to get them prepared for this game."
Roethlisberger's comments regarding being there for Rudolph are the complete opposite of what Micheal Silver of the NFL Network said on Tuesday. It was a really strange report that came out of nowhere.
"I don't think Mason Rudolph is gonna get a lot of help from Ben Roethlisberger in this prep," Silver said. "I'm told they really don't have much of a relationship, so the young player is going to have to sink or swim on his own here."
The national media has never really been fond of Roethlisberger and Silver's report seems like a complete farce. I find it hard to believe that Roethlisberger wouldn't be there for his teammate in pretty much the biggest game of his career to date, in the same stadium where he was viciously attacked by Browns' defensive end Myles Garrett last year.
Rudolph wants to redeem himself from that Week 11 game on Thursday night in Cleveland last year where he threw four interceptions, which ended in a drastically ill way with the Garrett incident.
"There are a couple of ways you can go about it," Roethlisberger said on how Rudolph can deal with this game. "You can put it behind you and treat it like a typical quarterback that has to have a short memory. You just go out there and whatever happened last year, there is going to be a lot of hoopla about it, just put it out of your mind and go focus on this year, this game, this team.
"Or you can go take it as motivation that you want to go out and put it on them and win this football game. It's really each man has to decide how he wants to approach it. I know from talking to Mason and knowing Mason he wants to go out and win this football game. He is going to do everything he can for this team. This is an awesome opportunity for him to get out and show what he can do."
It's tough to judge a quarterback off just one game, but Rudolph really needs to make a strong impression if he's going to have any type of future in Pittsburgh as the heir apparent to Roethlisberger, whenever that time comes. Many don't believe Rudolph is the long-term answer to replace Roethlisberger, but he can at the very least, give fans hope if he puts on a good performance on Sunday in Cleveland.