Former Steelers CB Bryant McFadden On His Belief That Mason Rudolph Offers 1 Significant Advantage Over Kenny Pickett - Sport News

Former Steelers CB Bryant McFadden On His Belief That Mason Rudolph Offers 1 Significant Advantage Over Kenny Pickett

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback debate is not as black and white as some make it sound. Reporters like Gerry Dulac may think that it is a sure thing that Kenny Pickett will get the starting job. Yet there are players like Diontae Johnson who believe that Mason Rudolph is the better pick. Both quarterbacks have their positive attributes and both have some drawbacks. There is also a possibility, however unlikely, that the Steelers could sign a new veteran quarterback who either starts or gets a chance to compete for the starting job. On top of all of those factors, Rudolph is not a sure thing. At this time, he is not under contract with the Steelers for 2024 and may be hoping for a fresh start somewhere else. Or, he might want more money than the organization is willing to pay him.

Mason Rudolph vs. Kenny Pickett: Potential quarterback controversy brewing  in Pittsburgh | DAZN News US

All of this talk of who should start led the guys at the All Things Covered podcast to debate the topic. Former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden and his cousin and current Steelers cornerback, Patrick Peterson, co-host the show. In the most recent episode, they discuss who they prefer and the pros and cons of both quarterbacks.

Steelers’ Mason Rudolph Has A Major Advantage Over Kenny Pickett

Last season when Head Coach Mike Tomlin announced Rudolph was going to take over for the unsuccessful Mitch Trubisky while Pickett was injured, it felt like a nothing to lose gamble. Pickett had seemed like the team’s best hope and with him gone, they just weren’t able to win any games. McFadden predicted the Steelers would never win their last three games. When Rudolph led the team to victory, McFadden had no issue eating his words and giving the veteran backup credit.

Now faced with the question of who should be under center next year, McFadden said that success helped make his decision easier. He added that the team only has one quarterback under contract, Pickett, and two that are sort of “in the building” including Rudolph, so this has caused fans to hear “premature information.” You can only offer predictions on how you feel those two will do because they are the only players definitively connected to the team. All of the rest of the talk about outside veterans being signed or players being drafted is just that, talk.

In comparing the two – Pickett and Rudolph – McFadden feels like Rudolph, who is entering his seventh season in the league, has the advantage for one very specific reason. McFadden said that he agrees with the notion of having a quarterback competition. He thinks both Pickett and Rudolph should get a shot at playing with the “ones.”

“When Mason jumped into the lineup when Kenny got healthy, guess what? You guys rolled with Mason. The difference between Kenny and Mason is Mason is not afraid to take chances as a quarterback, pushing the ball down the field,” said McFadden.

Peterson agrees with McFadden. He said Rudolph is more likely to stand in the pocket and take defensive pressure, whereas Pickett tends to retreat. This makes the defender’s job easier and impacts Pickett’s ability to get off a good throw.

They gave the example of the game against the Seattle Seahawks where Rudolph got off a big pass to wide receiver George Pickens. They agreed that if that had been Pickett, he wouldn’t have been able to get the pass off because he would have dropped back too much.

“To add to some of the differences between quarterbacks from what we saw in 2023, Mason played with more confidence. He seemed to be more emotionally involved in the game, played with energy and he played with confidence. You could tell the difference in the experience with Mason and Kenny. So now the question will be how much better, when it comes to those little minute things, staying in the pocket, not evading so soon, taking shots down the football field, not playing necessarily scared, but trying to protect the football more than anything. How much better will those things get for Kenny Pickett,” remarked McFadden.

It is a quarterback-driven league noted McFadden and unfortunately for Pickett, Rudolph was able to step up and deliver what he wasn’t. Rudolph even did it at the time the Steelers needed it the most and helped them make it to the playoffs by winning three straight games.

The way McFadden sees it, Rudolph took advantage of an opportunity that was squandered by Pickett. It doesn’t matter the reason why – development, bad play-calling, etc., it is still how it unfolded. Now Pickett will have to show Tomlin that he has what it takes, he can do what Rudolph did, and more.

“Mason Rudolph is a guy who’s been around for quite some time, a backup for the majority of his career, a fill-in starter when given the opportunity, and this past year, he really showed the ability to lead an offense. Kenny Pickett was drafted in the first round two years ago to be the heir apparent to Future Hall of Famer Big Ben [Roethlisberger], the next face of the franchise at the quarterback position. He got opportunities, didn’t really blow you away with those opportunities, and because of that, there’s a conundrum at the quarterback situation. If Kenny Pickett just played sustainable football, this wouldn’t even be a question. What Kenny didn’t do led to an opportunity for Mason.”

Pickett will also have to show his teammates that he can lead them consistently. Pickett’s biggest strength so far has been his ability to come from behind and win, but he has to direct this offense from the start.

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