5 for Friday: No downside in Steelers re-signing Rudolph

The Steelers re-signed quarterback Mason Rudolph to a one-year contract earlier this week, meaning there's a good chance their quarterback room will look the same in 2023 as it did in 2022.

And that's not a bad thing.

A total of 69 quarterbacks started games in the NFL during the 2022 season, setting a new league record.

With the league now playing a 17-game schedule, that only figured to happen. More games equal more injuries. There also were a number of teams that used multiple quarterbacks due to ineffectiveness.

Given the fact teams, on average, used 2.16 starting quarterbacks each, ensuring you have three on your roster capable of winning a game is good business.

And Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Rudolph all have proven capable of starting and winning a game. We'll also see during the offseason program and during training camp if rookie Tanner Morgan, an undrafted rookie out of Minnesota, has a chance to unseat Rudolph as the No. 3 QB, though that seems highly unlikely.

Having three capable quarterbacks isn't a bad thing. Anyone who thinks it is didn't watch last year's NFC Championship or Miami's playoff loss to the Bills when the Dolphins were forced to start rookie Skylar Thompson at quarterback.

When teams talk about their quarterback room, the backups have to be considered. Just eight quarterbacks played all 17 games in 2022.

• About half the teams in the NFL kept just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, while the other half kept three in 2022.

Given what happened in last year's NFC Championship, when the 49ers, who were already playing without Trey Lance and then Jimmy Garoppolo, saw third-stringer Brock Purdy and fourth-stringer Josh Johnson injured, as well, it will be interesting to see if there is an increase in the number of teams that carry three quarterbacks.

The Steelers believe as an organization in keeping three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. After seeing what happened in the league in 2022, it seems like a pretty good idea.

The Steelers also have had seasons in which they have used three starters because of injury – most recently in 2019.

Given how involved quarterbacks are in everything that goes into a team's offense, it just doesn't make much sense to leave a third quarterback open to be poached by another team.

Plus, with teams now being able to expand their game-day rosters to 55 players, it just makes sense to carry three quarterbacks, even if all three aren't active on game day.

The position is just too important to have only two.

• The Steelers averaged 20.9 points per game over their final nine games last season, when they also went 7-2. Had they averaged that total over the course of the season, it would have ranked 20th in a league in which scoring was way down last season.

And that included a game against the Raiders when they scored 13 points with the temperature hovering at or below zero for much of the game. It also included a game in Baltimore in which the Steelers scored 16 points in a pretty steady rain.

The Steelers won both of those games, by the way.

The team went on that 7-2 run by taking care of the football, controlling the time of possession by averaging 146 rushing yards per game and playing solid defense.

Oh yeah, the schedule was much easier, as well.

In fact, the second half of the Steelers' schedule saw them play three games against teams that finished with a winning record. They won one of those games, beating the Ravens.

That second half of the Steelers' 2022 schedule looks very similar to the schedule they will play in 2023 – at least based off last year's standings.

The 2023 schedule includes eight teams that finished the 2022 season with a winning record. And one of those teams is the Packers, who will be breaking in a new quarterback in Jordan Love. The Packers figure to take a step backward with Love in place of Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

The Steelers found a winning formula down the stretch last season. They ran the ball effectively. They converted on third downs at a rate of better than 50 percent. They made life easier on Pickett.

In other words, they figured out their offensive identity. And that identity figures to play well into the 2023 season.

When people ask why the Steelers brought offensive coordinator Matt Canada back for 2023, that's why. While the overall numbers for last season weren't great, there was a significant growth.

• Dale Lolley is co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

Half the teams in the NFL changed offensive play callers this offseason. The Steelers were not one of them because they wanted to have that continuity from 2022 to 2023. And given how they finished and what lay ahead, that's not a bad thing.

The Steelers know how they want to play football in 2023. They have built their roster to accentuate how they want to play football. And their offense – which was the youngest in the NFL last season – should take another step forward in 2023.

This is a team primed to take a big step forward.

• The final phase of OTAs begin next week for the Steelers, giving the coaching staff its first opportunity to get a look at the entire roster, rookies and veterans, together.

It will be interesting to see over the coming weeks if there are any additional roster moves forthcoming. At this point, barring injuries, any further moves will be tweaks as opposed to major signings – barring something unforeseen, such as when the Browns released Joe Haden in 2018.

The heavy lifting of the offseason is now pretty much complete. Now it's time to fine tune things and begin preparations for the long haul.

• It didn't get the fanfare of some bigger signings in the NFL, but at least one person thinks the Steelers made a really big move in signing guard Isaac Seumalo in free agency.

"I think he's one of the best guards in the NFL, and I think he has been," Eagles center Jason Kelce told reporters Wednesday of Seumalo. "I think he's one of the most consistent players I've ever been around, one of the most consistent people I've ever been around. So, we're not going to replace Isaac."

That's high praise from Kelce, one of the top centers in the NFL.

He didn't stop there.

"Isaac is a really, really special player," Kelce said. "I know we've said that for a long time, and I still don't think people really have a true grasp of what he did for our room and me personally. I think he's probably the smartest player I've ever been around. Really, really gifted physically, mentally, across the board. So, I think the Steelers are getting a steal. That's a good pun, I guess."

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