Rudolph is what the Steelers wanted at quarterback
The Steelers were building a very specific offense this offseason. They beefed up the line once again, added some physical threats in Darnell Washington and Alle Robinson, and were hyping up the shared workload between Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. While the rest of the league was putting together high-flying offenses, the Steelers wanted one that didn’t rely on the quarterback and kept games close.
The hope was that since Pickett wouldn’t be asked to do too much, he could shine at the simple things. That was the way he was trending at the end of his rookie season, and the hope was for a continuation of that through year two.
Instead, Pickett became an abject liability. His early season play was a disaster, and while he settled down a little, he never had a truly great game. Outside of the occasional heroic fourth-quarter performance, Pickett looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and hampered this offense because of his poor play.
When Rudolph came in, he finally looked the part of what this team wanted in their quarterback play. He was hitting the obvious passes while also connecting on deeper passes that kept the defenses honest. In order to counter this, defenses couldn’t stack the box and just stop the run like they had been doing with Pickett.
This allowed for the running game to open up, which played in perfect tandem with Rudolph as a passer. The offense put up over 30 points in back-to-back weeks and hummed through the competition. While the Ravens game wasn’t pretty, Rudolph held his own and did well enough considering the elements.
While we should all have serious concerns about how much Rudolph can do as a starter (he isn’t an elite passer), he fits what the offense wants to do. He has shown the ability to be a decent game manager, and that is what this team wants in their quarterback right now.