(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
It doesn't seem like Mason Rudolph's teammates believe in him as a starting quarterback. I mean, no one has strongly endorsed Rudolph.
Last month during an interview on CBS Sports HQ, Najee Harris didn't mention Rudolph's name when asked who he wants the next Steelers' quarterback to be.
"Deshaun Watson is always in there. Aaron Rodgers, I like," Harris said. "Even guys like Jimmy G, I like him too. Just a guy that wants to come in there and compete."
Cam Heyward also didn't utter Rudolph's name.
“Whoever wants to come out this way, be in the cold a little bit, we got something for you,” Heyward said in an interview with the NFL Network last week. “We got some pieces on offense. Black and gold does look good. It goes with everything. An old guy or a young guy. We’re looking for somebody to come in and lead the front on offense. ... I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions, but hopefully we get the guy we need.”
T.J. Watt even mentioned that he trusts the Steelers' front office to "bring in" a winning quarterback. It's like Rudolph doesn't even exist.
“We’ll see what happens at the quarterback position,” Watt told the Associated Press football podcast. “I trust the guys upstairs to be able to bring a guy in that can win us some games, and I’m going to do everything in my power to take care of things on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Steelers would be lucky to have a non-losing season with Rudolph under center. It's more likely that they'll be 5-12 with Rudolph at quarterback. Rudolph is 5-4-1 as a starter and got replaced by undrafted rookie Devlin "Duck" Hodges in 2019 because his performance was below the line. Hodges is not even in the league anymore and currently plays for the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL.
It's hard to blame the Steelers players for not having much confidence in Rudolph. He's an OK backup, but he's not going to get veterans Heyward and Watt a Super Bowl ring. I just don't see how things will miraculously change for Rudolph. I mean, he got beat out by Hodges in 2019. That tells you everything you need to know.
Rudolph also isn't mobile and doesn't move well in the pocket. Having a quarterback who is mobile and can extend plays is a must-have in today's league. The Steelers would be setting themselves up for failure if they let Rudolph take the reins in 2022. It doesn't seem like the locker room would disagree either. They don't want Rudolph as their starting quarterback.