(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
It's still early in the process, and no preseason games have been played yet, but reports out of Steelers training camp indicate that Mason Rudolph has struggled immensely so far. Dwayne Haskins, who has been pretty decent so far at training camp, could possibly unseat Rudolph as the No. 2 quarterback if the subpar play continues.
It's been three consecutive bad practices for Rudolph. It all started on Thursday when he was a part of a botched two-minute drill. And Mike Tomlin was pretty miffed about it.
According to Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rudolph had 15 seconds to work with but no timeouts. He completed a pass on the left side to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was tackled by Minkah Fitzpatrick just short of the goal line. As Rudolph and his offensive line rushed to get the ball spotted so they could spike it, the clock hit zero and that was it.
Tomlin reportedly turned to the offensive sideline and gave an earful to both players and coaches, disappointed that they’d try to run two plays with such little time.
“At 15 seconds, we’ve got to take shots at the end zone,” Tomlin explained. “When Minkah tackled that guy in the field of play right there, the game’s over. We’ve got to have that level of awareness.
Tomlin said it was a failure on everyone offensively, but it was still a poor decision by Rudolph to throw the ball in the middle of the field with 15 seconds remaining and no timeouts left. Rudolph is heading into his fourth season also, so he should know better.
“It was annoying, yes, but I also acknowledge the learning process is a part of this,” Tomlin said. “It’s an opportunity to teach, but some of those guys have been around a little bit, so I expressed that feeling.”
And then during "Seven Shots" on Friday, Rudolph threw an ill-advised fade pass to Diontae Johnson that was easily intercepted by James Pierre and returned for a 106-yard interception.
After practice, Rudolph was scene working with Johnson and they worked on some routes near the goal-line.
Yesterday's practice was reportedly just a mess altogether for the offense, as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic counted eight drops during the team period. So, I guess you can give Rudolph a pass there, but overall he hasn't been impressive early in training camp. Perhaps he can turn things around this week at practice and on Thursday night when the Steelers play the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game -- as ultimately -- it's in the preseason games where the No. 2 quarterback position will be decided between Rudolph and Haskins.