Now that Mason Rudolph has been unceremoniously ejected from the top quarterback slot on the Steelers depth chart, all you Pittsburgh fans who stanned for him earlier in the season should feel really stupid.
No, Steeler Nation, we haven’t forgotten the cynical manner in which you heaped Ben Roethlisberger into the garbage pile following his season-ending injury.
Here was one emblematic tweet:
I mean I like Ben and its sad but I’m ready to see if the Mason Rudolph era is upon us, especially since we know Ben is near the end of his career anyway.
Be careful what you wish for, Steelers fans. You got the Mason Rudolph Era, and boy was it a doozy.
The Oklahoma State product ranks dead-last in ESPN’s Total QBR rankings (32.9), trailing even Marcus Mariota (who has already been benched) and Mitchell Trubisky (who should be). Jameis Winston, who probably tossed three more interceptions while I was typing this sentence, has at least managed to keep his QBR above 50.
Level-headed Steelers fans had hoped that Mason Rudolph would be able to hold down the job long enough for Ben Roethlisberger to return to action next year (following the obligatory retirement rumors, of course). But now the bubble playoff team will head into Week 13 with their third starting quarterback of the season.
NFL franchises were so unimpressed with rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges that he wasn’t even one of the 254 players selected in this year’s draft. But Roethlisberger’s injury delivered the practice squad player a spot on the Pittsburgh roster, and the utter dumpster fire known as the Mason Rudolph Era will gift him his first NFL start on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
And lest you try to argue that the Steelers just want to be extraordinarily cautious this week given Rudolph’s role in what transpired the last time Pittsburgh played Cleveland, head coach Mike Tomlin put that fantasy to rest.
Delivering a withering assessment of Rudolph that would make Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer blush, Tomlin said that Hodges had earned the Week 13 start because “He has not killed us.”
Tragically, the real loser in all of this may be a former Steelers quarterback who isn’t even in the league anymore: Landry Jones.
Jones, a journeyman who spent five years backing up Roethlisberger, would have been a natural player to bring in as insurance in case Mason Rudolph crashed and burned.
Unfortunately, Jones signed with the XFL a month before Roethlisberger went on injured reserve. The fledgling league has not allowed their talent to escape their contracts, even if NFL teams come calling.
Consequently, Hodges – who had been relegated to the practice squad before Roethlisberger’s injury – gets the start against the Browns, and not Jones.
Jones, incidentally, was the first player to sign with the XFL. He probably feels stupid for inking that contract so quickly. But all you Mason Rudolph stans should feel even stupider.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.