What does the future hold for the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers?

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Aiden Birkenfeld

Mason Rudolph is the Steelers new starting quarterback. He is a 24-year-old QB from Rock Hill, North Carolina taking the field as a starter for the Steelers for the rest of the season.

Rudolph was drafted by the Steelers as pick #76 in the 2018 NFL Draft during the 3rd round out of Oklahoma State University. Something special happened that night when the Steelers drafted Rudolph–not only was the night special for Rudolph and his family, but in the round prior to his drafting the Steelers also selected his college teammate James Washington. The college buds reunited on the big stage.

Rudolph played all 4 years of college football with Washington, and through those 4 years, Rudolph scored an outstanding 107 Touchdowns and only threw 26 interceptions–a measly number compared to his touchdown count. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 2017, an award annually given out to the most outstanding colegate senior quarterback. 

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler asked Rudolph about his confidence in the team and the future of this year. “I am completely confident in myself, being a leader of a team, and playing games,” Rudolph said. “That’s what it all comes down to. If that’s the case, I’m ready to roll.” 

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Steelers players celebrate during a season game.

There are mixed feelings upon Steeler fans. The Yinzers are losing faith in their beloved black and gold brigade. The injury to Ben Roethlesburger is creating mix of hype and hopelessness. For the rest of the year, Steeler fans can no longer worship their deity. Mason Rudolph is here to step in and save the day. 

Though he is stating on a rough 0-2 start with losses to the Seahawks and Patriots, with a game on Sunday in San Francisco against the 49ers, Mason Rudolph can prove himself to not only Steeler fans, but the whole league. It is the age of the young, older quarterbacks are dwindling, and young guns are filling up the most important position in the game. Brees, Brady and Roethlesburger are the last of the old QBs. Young kids such as Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff and All Star Patrick Mahomes are taking the league by storm. Now it is up to Mason Rudolph to fill the void and step up and save the Steelers season.

With deep depth on offence and weapons such as Juju Smith-Shuster, James Washington, James Connor, Vance McDonald and Donte Moncrief, Rudolph should be able to get the Steelers out of the hole and up and running with the help from the defence (with newly acquired Minkah Fitzpartick from the Miami Dolphins)

We asked die-hard Steelers fan and Allderdice teacher Mr. Schaltenbrand what he thinks of the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’m optimistic about Rudolph, this is his opportunity to show his stuff. James Washington and Ryan Switzer need to step up and take pressure off Juju,” he said. “It’s difficult when you lose your best player gets out for the year and the expectation for winning is so high.” 

For the past couple of years, the Steelers offence was considered very elite from publications such as ESPN and Bleacher Report, and the numbers showed it. In 2017, the Steelers were 3rd in yards-per-game and 3rd in passing yards. The question is if they can produce more offensive pressure and win some games. 

Mr. Shaltenbrand also commented on what he thought of the Steeler defence and what he would want to see going forward. “I thought the Defense didn’t play terrible. They had flashes of looking very strong. I hope to see Minkah Fitzpatrick to add depth to the secondary.” The Steelers recently traded for 2018 first round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins in return for a couple of draft picks including the Steelers 2020 first rounder. 

With the recent events involving ex-Steeler Antonio Brown, Steelers and Raiders fans alike are waiting to see how the situation plays out. He has been accused of sexual assualt, rape, and unpaid debts among other claims. His actions were intolerable and the cost was a release by the Oakland Raiders, though he was signed to the New England Patriots later that day (he has since been released from the Patriots as well). Last year was full of drama in the Steelers locker room with Brown doing unreasonable acts and running back Le’Veon Bell holding out due to contract complications. So this year the Steelers are looking to move forward and develop the young Mason Rudolph and make the best of the NFL’s centennial season.