QB Mason Rudolph - Pittsburgh Steelers
|6-5, 230||Born: 7-17-1995||College: Oklahoma State||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2018|
Week 14: at Arizona Cardinals
FBG says: Good matchup. It's hard to call young Devlin Hodges a polished prospect. He's being managed very closely and given very little downfield opportunity, with the Steelers running heavily to protect him. Still, his steady-ish play has been a noticeable upgrade on the mistake-prone Mason Rudolph. Hodges has shown the spark of a dynamic connection with wideout James Washington, who's topped 90 yards in 3 of his last 4 games. The pair hooked up on three fantastic, well-contested deep balls last week, making for the most excitement this attack has seen in over a month. Washington would still hold some fantasy value even if JuJu Smith-Schuster can return - he doesn't look likely to - but offers week-winning potential as Hodges' No. 1 target. With the lack of volume at play, though, there's not much stability or upside to be found anywhere else. No. 2 wideout Diontae Johnson have combined to post just 115 yards over the past 3 weeks. The Cardinals opened the year struggling against the pass, but this unit has now plummeted to the bottom of the league by just about every measure. Not even the Week 7 return of All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson has helped stop the bleeding. The numbers have been staggering: they've allowed 420+ yards in back-to-back games, and 315+ in 6 of their last seven. Over those 7 games they've surrendered 19 touchdowns through the air, and 7 different receivers have recorded 100+ yards. Peterson has suffered through his worst season as a pro, and rookie Byron Murphy has been even worse across the field. Of course, the Cardinals have gained the most notoriety here in 2019 for their ineptitude against tight ends. The linebackers and safeties have been historically poor in coverage up the seams. They've already allowed 6 different tight ends to top 75 yards - 4 of them cleared 100 - with an astonishing 13 touchdowns along the way. Vance McDonald has largely faded from the Pittsburgh gameplan, but he couldn't ask for a better time to get more involved.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs QB 1, QB 12, QB 24
Mason Rudolph's percentile rank in each category, among QB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2019 Week 12 vs CIN (8 / 16 / 85 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / 5 / 0 rush)
In Week 4 against the Bengals, Rudolph had his best game of the season when he threw for two touchdowns and over two hundred yards. This performance was much different. On the first possession of the game Rudolph threw a dangerous pass in his own end zone when the pocket was collapsing. Luckily, the Benny Snell jumped for the ball and was able to make an exceptional hands catch. When the Steelers were finally on the move, on third and goal Mason Rudolph threw an interception when his arm was hit and the ball was inaccurately thrown. This was the second time, in this game, Rudolph's arm was hit when he was in the pocket. He may have been having enough depth on his drop back and wasn't giving himself enough room to step up in the pocket. Also, Rudolph wasn't showing enough awareness to not step up in a pocket which was collapsing in front of him. On the Steelers next trip to the red zone in the first half, Rudolph threw a pass to Tevin Jones in the end zone. The pass was thrown behind the wide receiver and well after the break in his route. This was a missed opportunity for a touchdown. Rudolph's remaining first half highlights consisted of a ball which should have been intentionally grounding and an intentional grounding ball. Rudolph did come out as the starter in the second half and on his first offensive pass was sacked for a 13-yard loss. On his third three and out of the day, Rudolph underthrew a pass into triple coverage without good ball speed. The pass should have been intercepted. It can be easy to understand why Rudolph was benched. His decision making and rhythm he was providing for the offense wasn't working.
2019 Week 11 vs CLE (23 / 44 / 221 / 1 / 4 pass, 2 / 15 / 0 rush)
Week 11 for Mason Rudolph was the convergence of bad decision making and little offensive line protection. Rudolph was routinely taking either pressure or being hit when he was trying to deliver the football. On a third down and short Rudolph made an inaccurate pass to Juju Smith-Schuster which would have continued a drive when the Browns were only up by seven points. Late in the second half, Rudolph started turning the football over. Rudolph's first interception of the night came on a deep pass off of a flea flicker. Denzel Ward turns and tips the ball in the air and Morgan Burnett makes the interception. On the following drive, Rudolph fumbled the ball in the last two minutes of the first half. Sheldon Richardson had the opportunity to scoop the ball up but was too focused on what to do after the recovery. This is Rudolph's fourth fumble not lost. After not turning the ball over, Rudolph took another sack on the Steelers' last play of their last possession of the first half. Rudolph's second interception was on an inaccurate pass behind the receiver over the middle of the field. Rudolph's fourth interception came when he was throwing a six route and he didn't see the defender underneath the route. Luckily, Rudolph caught up to the Browns defender and was able to stop the defender from scoring. The final interception of Rudolph's day came in the fourth quarter. Rudolph overthrew Vance McDonald and there was good deep coverage on the day. Even Rudolph's lone touchdown pass on the game saw plenty of pressure. While dropping back to pass, the Browns pass rush almost reached Rudolph for another sack. Rudolph saw Jaylen Samuels open in the flat just in time.
2019 Week 10 vs LAR (22 / 38 / 242 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
The playbook is opening for Mason Rudolph every week. Unlike previous weeks, Rudolph was utilizing all quadrants of the football field and spreading the ball around to players who are not running check downs and routes out of the backfield. Unfortunately, this week started the same as the previous three weeks for Rudolph, turning the ball over on the first possession of the game. This time wasn't his fault as his center sent the ball over his head and the defender was able to scoop the ball first and score. It was an unlucky bounce. Rudolph did contribute to the oppositions point total early in the fourth quarter. With the Steelers up 10-14 and backed up to the five yard line, Rudolph faked the run on play action, turned his back to the opposing defense, and was immediately met when he turned around to scan the field by Aaron Donald for a safety. Rudolph wasn't without his bright moments and in Week 10 most of the moments were with former college teammate, James Washington. More specifically, Rudolph and Washington showed a lot of their old chemistry in the first half of the game. On Rudolph's only touchdown pass of the contest, Rudolph saw Washington had one on one coverage and threw him a perfectly placed 50-50 ball. Washington was able to make the contested grab and get both feet down. Again to Washington, Rudolph found Washington deep over the middle on a perfectly placed pass. Washington was able to run after the catch, splitting the defenders, before having the ball punched loose for a fumble.
2019 Week 9 vs IND (26 / 35 / 191 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Wins are not a quarterback stat, but Mason Rudolph should take what he can get. In Week 9, Rudolph started strong with his first pass of the game being delivered in rhythm on a slant route to Juju Smith-Schuster. His second pass of the game to Smith-Schuster was deep down the left side. If it weren't for blanket coverage by the defense the pass would have been a touchdown. Unfortunately, the third target to Smith-Schuster on the opening drive went right through Smith-Schuster's hands and was intercepted. For the remainder of the game, passes were primarily close to the line of scrimmage with the idea of letting playmakers make plays after the catch and not to risk throwing the ball downfield. Mason Rudolph's single passing touchdown of the game came in such a manner. Rudolph delivered a pass on time to Vance McDonald as he was turning around. This allowed McDonald to shield the defenders from the ball and for McDonald to gain just enough to push in the endzone for a touchdown. While Rudolph's stat line isn't packed for Week 9 it needs to be noted the poise he played with. Rudolph stepped up in the pocket and wasn't afraid to take the big hit and deliver an accurate pass. Even Rudolph's safety shouldn't be completely blamed on him. Rudolph was standing tall in the pocket when the offensive line was being pushed back and Rudolph tried to escape. There was no where for him to go and he had to take the safety. Luckily, on the punt after the safety, the Colts fumbled the ball and the Steelers were able to kick a field goal.
2019 Week 8 vs MIA (20 / 36 / 251 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
For a young quarterback it is important to start in a rhythm. Unfortunately, Week 8 did not start off well for Mason Rudolph. His first pass of the game went for an interception when he was targeting Juju Smith-Schuster. The line in front of Rudolph was collapsing on him and his arm was hit as he threw the football. On the second drive of the game for the Steelers things almost were worse for Rudolph. On his first deep pass of the game, the call originally on the field was another interception. Rudolph threw the ball to James Washington and the ball popped out of his hands and a defender made the play. Fortunately, the defender stepped out of bounds before he had control and the ball was given back to the Steelers who ultimately turned the ball over on downs. At the end of the second quarter, with less than a minute left, the Dolphins brought a blitz against Rudolph and left Diontae Johnson in man coverage. The Dolphins blew their assignment and allowed Johnson to have free run over the middle on a slant route. Rudolph was able to deliver an on-time pass to Johnson which allowed him to work after the catch. Rudolph's best throw of the night came in the third quarter. The Steelers were still down 14-10 and were marching down the field. Rudolph delivered a well placed 50-50 ball right in front of the end zone for Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster was able to take the ball away from the defender and score a touchdown. Against another defender on another team, this well placed ball could have easily been an intercepted pass. James Conner, Rushing 23-145-1, Receiving 3-5-0 (5 targets) In this game, Conner was the engine of the offense. He had his longest run of the season, 25-yards, and was routinely shedding tackles and stiff-arming defenders to the ground. Conner's best run of the game came on a broken play in the second half. The play was drawn to go to the left side of the line, but the offensive line was collapsing in front of him. Conner had the vision to cut all the way back across the formation, shed a tackler and carry the ball for a 17-yard gain. Conner's lone touchdown of the game was on a touchdown to bring the Steelers to the 9-yard line. The Steelers were in the shotgun formation and they ran a simple draw up the middle. Conner, as always, followed his lineman up the middle. Conner stretched his arm out and reached the ball just over the goal line for a touchdown. Overall, without Jaylen Samuels on the field the Steelers do lose versatility. James Conner is the workhorse and the player who spells him, Benny Snell, works between the tackles and not in the open field as a receiver. Conner left Week 8 with an apparent AC sprain. No additional information has been released on his health or if he will be available for Week 9.
2019 Week 5 vs BAL (13 / 20 / 131 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Things were not easy for Mason Rudolph in Week 5. The Baltimore Ravens were producing consistent pass rush around Rudolph and did not hesitate to call cover zero to send more blitzers than blockers. With 38% of Rudolph's passes going to running backs this season, cover zero kept defenders close to the line of scrimmage and his running backs were not able to work out of the backfield. Similar to other touchdowns by Rudolph this season, due to scheme or luck, Juju Smith-Schuster was running across the middle of the field on broken coverage. Rudolph saw Smith-Schuster streaking across the center of the field and delivered a well-placed ball allowing Smith-Schuster to run after the catch. Smith-Schuster's defender caught up to him, but he was able to stiff arm the defender to the ground, keep his balance and score the touchdown. In the third quarter Rudolph felt pressure in the pocket and rolled to his left. At the time the ball was released, Rudolph was sandwiched between two defenders. The defender who hit him from the front, Earl Thomas, hit Rudolph with his helmet. He was instantly knocked out and went to the group limp. After the hit, Rudolph laid on the ground for several minutes before being assisted walking off the field since the Steelers medical cart broke down. With some assistance, Rudolph was able to leave the field and made his way to the locker room. Rudolph was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
2019 Week 4 vs CIN (24 / 28 / 229 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
It isn't always about the big flashy plays. Sometimes it is about letting your playmakers find their footing and allowing them to make plays and not being the reason, those players can't make plays. During most of the game Rudolph had handcuffs on. Passes being throw were all within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Late in the second half the short throws began going for large gains. The pass-rush wasn't getting to Rudolph and simple screen passes being taken for large gains. Rudolph's first touchdown of the game came on a screen pass to James Conner on a spring right. Rudolph was able to hit Conner in traffic and place the ball in a place where he could work after the catch. There wasn't much downfield throwing in this game, but Rudolph did take two deep shots downfield. The first was to Johnny Holton incomplete, but the second was for a touchdown to Diontae Johnson. Johnson was lost in the mix in coverage and Rudolph was able to hit him on a deep post. It wasn't a perfect throw as Rudolph almost overthrew Johnson, but it was just good enough.
2019 Week 3 vs SF (14 / 27 / 174 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 15 / 0 rush)
Rudolph's role in today's game was to drive the bus. Make simple throws, don't make bad decisions, and don't force the ball. Through the first half of the Steelers' Week 3 match-up, Rudolph hadn't even thrown a pass of over ten yards. He was relying on screen passes outside and short to intermediate crossing routes. Making things worse, without the deep passing game being available to Rudolph, the 49ers defense began moving closer to the line of scrimmage and flushing Rudolph out of the pocket frequently. On the Steelers first series of the third quarter, Rudolph was flushed from the pocket and forced to rollout. When on the run, Rudolph missed his man and threw his single interception of the day. On bright side, Rudolph's two touchdowns displayed why the Steelers do have faith in Mason Rudolph going forward. His first touchdown pass, to Juju Smith-Schuster, showed a perfect pass. The ball was delivered on time and allowed the receiver to stay in stride throughout to work after the catch. Rudolph's second touchdown pass of the game came when the Steelers were targeting a defensive back. Rudolph looked to one side of the field and when his eyes moved back to the other side of the field Rudolph did a small shoulder fake. The defender bit slightly on the fake Diontae Johnson was able to shake lose and score easily on a deep pass.
2019 Week 2 vs SEA (12 / 19 / 112 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
His performance wasn't without its flaws, but Rudolph stepped in and looked like a serviceable NFL starting quarterback. Rudolph showed good accuracy to all levels of the field and enough arm strength to drive the ball to the outside hashes. If it wasn't for Donte Moncrief's tipped pass, Rudolph would have likely finished the day without a turnover on his resume. On the day, Rudolph had three highlight throws. The first was his first touchdown to Vance McDonald. Rudolph could have thrown the ball when he first saw pressure, but instead he hung in the pocket and allowed the deeper sections of the secondary to uncover enough for McDonald to have room to operate. Rudolph's second highlight throw came in the third quarter. It was a flea flicker play. The ball came back to Rudolph and he hit Juju Smith-Schuster as he was pulling away from his defender. If Rudolph had a little more juice in his arm he might have been able to hit Smith-Schuster in stride for a touchdown, but it was still a nice deep throw. Finally, Rudolph's second touchdown was a thing of beauty. On a play action play, Rudolph completely turned his back to the opposing defense. When he turned around, Rudolph delivered an accurate and on time pass to Vance McDonald and brought the Steelers within two points.
Latest NewsSteelers | Mason Rudolph to the bench (Tue Nov 26, 12:18 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph was benched in favor of QB Devlin Hodges for Week 13. Our View: Rudolph struggled mightily as the Steelers starter, and tossed five interceptions over the last two weeks. The Steelers may have had a first-round grade on Rudolph when he came out of Oklahoma State in 2018, but he's clearly not the quarterback of the future. Devlin Hodges takes over as the starter.
link to story Steelers | Devlin Hodges tosses TD in relief stint (Sun Nov 24, 08:04 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers QB Devlin Hodges completed 5-of-11 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, coming off the bench for the ineffective QB Mason Rudolph. link to story Steelers | Mason Rudolph benched (Sun Nov 24, 02:52 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph was benched during the Week 12 game and has been replaced by QB Devlin Hodges. Our View: Hodges immediately threw a 79-yard touchdown to James Washington. We might not see Rudolph again for a while.
link to story Steelers | Fine expected for Mason Rudolph (Sat Nov 23, 01:11 PM) - Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph is expected to be fine $50,000 for his role in the Steelers-Cleveland Browns late-game brawl Nov. 14, a source said Saturday, Nov. 23. Our View: Rudolph gets off light compared to other players involved in this incident. He will not be suspended and needs to play better going forward or else the Steelers could turn to Devlin Hodges instead. In Week 12 against the Bengals, Rudolph should have a much better success rate than he did against the Browns.
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