Time to ditch Mitch? Making a case for Mason Rudolph as Steelers starting quarterback

Is Mason Rudolph the lesser of two evils at QB for the Steelers this week?

Steelers, Mason Rudolph
Steelers, Mason Rudolph / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With how badly a Kenny Pickett-led offense struggled to put points on the board this season, many fans were duped into believing that Mitch Trubisky would give this team the spark they needed. That certainly hasn't been the case. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers have gone from bad to worse with Trubisky at the helm.

Though Mitch has only started one game this year, his first full contest of 2023 was a cringeworthy performance against a two-win Patriots team in Week 14. Trubisky should have thrown three interceptions in the first half alone, and while the team attempted to rally back late, a yolo ball on a crucial 4th and 2 was enough to seal their fate.

Trubisky has been asked to enter the game on four separate occasions this year for the often-injured Pickett. But every time the result has been the same. Remarkably, this team is now 0-4 in games where Trubisky steps foot on the field.

In these contests, the former second overall pick of the Bears has combined to complete 51 of 84 passes for 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, per Pro Football Reference. Trubisky has a dismal 4.6 adjusted yards per attempt on the season to go with a 72.7 passer rating and a dismal 35.3 QBR.

The collection of these statistics (as well as the eye test) has prompted fans to raise the question: Should Mason Rudolph start this Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts?

Making the case for Rudolph to start at QB for the Steelers

Let me start by saying this is far less of an endorsement of Mason Rudolph and truly an indictment on Mitch Trubisky. Though the sample has been relatively small, nobody is arguing that Mitch hasn't been awful when on the field so far this season.

Furthermore, Mitch has now played in 2 games with Matt Canada as offensive coordinator and 2 games in which Eddie Faulkner has been the Steelers' OC. The results have been equally bad all around.

That's where the conversation for Mason Rudolph starts. At no point did I ever believe that Rudolph was meant to be anything more than a backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite his prototype frame for the position (6'5'', 235 pounds), Rudolph has always been a statue in the pocket and lacks the throwing velocity to drive the ball outside the hashes or down the field.

Despite his shortcomings, he may very well be the lesser of two evils at this point for the Steelers. Rudolph isn't quite as careless with the football, and he could probably do just enough to stay out of harm's way and give Pittsburgh a chance to win against the Colts this week. After all, this is the same QB who went 5-3 as a starter in 2019 with James Washington leading the team in receiving that year.

I say all of this knowing full well that neither quarterback is a great option on Saturday. The Pittsburgh Steelers have already made their choice, and they are sticking with Trubisky. Part of me wonders if it's his past draft status or the obnoxious amount of money he is making as a backup that is factoring into this decision.

If it came down to a vote and Mike Tomlin asked for my opinion, I would raise my hand to ditch Mitch and go with the third-stringer. At the end of the day, a QB change probably doesn't move the needle either way in this contest, and the Steelers aren't going to let Rudolph guide this proverbial sleigh on Saturday night.