10/1/19-Win More Revealing Than Losses

By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers finally got in the ‘W’ column on Monday Night against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was that first big drink of water after a long drought.  It was one the Steelers needed to salvage the season, even if for just another week and it was a win that put them within one game of first place in the AFC North.  All positives.

Yet, to me, what I saw, offensively, I don’t see where all the celebration is coming from.  The offense, despite putting up 27 points, is still very unimpressive.  The way the game was called, albeit, creatively and enough to get by the horrendous Bengals, tells me that the coaching staff, namely Randy Ficthner, doesn’t have trust in Mason Rudolph. I find that problematic.

Sure, Rudloph’s stat line is impressive.  But when you look at the number that truly stands out, he averaged 3.1 yards in the air per pass!  It worked for a night, that won’t work for a season.  Little dump offs to the running backs, the Wild Cat led by Jaylen Samuels and the lack of involvement of the wide receivers is not something that will work long term.  Defenses are too good in the NFL to not find ways to stop that and soon. 

Can the Steelers and Fichtner continue to creatively design game plans that will work each week that don’t allow Rudolph to throw it beyond 10 yards down field?  I sure hope so but I’m not sure they want to do it.  It’s only been two starts but Fichtner has to give the keys to the car to Rudolph and let him learn on the go. Will there being growing pains, sure.  But does that ultimately matter? It shouldn’t. 

This team is not built to get by New England or Kansas City anyway and while it would be nice to somehow squeak into the postseason, it feels unlikely that this team can get there or if they do, that they can be any kind of a real threat.  With that knowledge, just let the kids play and grow and see what happens, it’s worth the risk and ultimately, we’ll all learn a bit more about what Rudolph can be. 

There is no way the Steelers drafted him so highly if they didn’t’ see potential in him to succeed Ben Roethlisberger one day. Even if it’s just for this season, that day has come.  The training wheels need to come off. Rudolph is capable of more.  If, however, the Steelers don’t trust him to show what he can do, this season is going nowhere fast.


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