For much of this offseason, including training camp, the perception of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has been as the team's third-string quarterback and, for some, a player that is expendable. One has to wonder, however, why he was the most showcased quarterback in their first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As has been the case with Rudolph throughout his NFL career, his performances leave many confused, as they are a blend of frustrating errors and glipses of brillant plays such as the 67-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin III in their game against the Bucs.
Rudolph finds himself in the position of either gaining ground on current back Mitch Trubisky or perhaps being traded at the end of the preseason. What should be noted is that Trubisky himself has not been overly impressive in creating that distance between him and Rudolph. At the same time, rookie UDFA Tanner Morgan showed in his last preseason game that he has not yet adapted to the speed of the game.
Where does this leave Rudolph? This is part of the intrigue that surrounds him. After six seasons in the NFL, he has yet to find an identity. Yet if he were to outperform Trubisky in these next two preseason games, he may end up closer to becoming the team QB2 than fans think. Either way, each snap Rudolph takes will be worthwhile viewing because of the potential implications for his future.