Offseason Program

Rudolph's progress continues

The Steelers final OTA practice of the week was over, and the field was clear. Except for two players.

Standing out there, taking snap after snap, was rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph, the team's third-round pick out of Oklahoma State.

Repetition after repetition he was working, until he reached that point where the comfort level was starting to come.

"We had some bad snaps," said Rudolph of the day's practice. "Bad center/quarterback exchange. It's on both of us. At the end of teams, I wish we could have ended on a better note. We'll get it right. We still have a lot of centers filtering through. We'll get on the same page."

If first impressions mean anything, there is no doubt that Rudolph will quickly be on the same page with whomever is under center. His teammates have already been singing his praises of his command in the huddle, his presence on the field. Not comments that often come when it's a rookie you are referring to.

"I am still getting to where I feel comfortable," said Rudolph. "That is the way I feel when I get in the huddle. I want to be clear, make sure I am enunciating stuff for the guys. I made some mistakes. It's a work in progress. I have always felt like when I know it, I am at my best. Just like anything else in the world. I definitely feel comfortable throwing the ball. There are a lot of playmakers out here."

Like his fellow rookies Rudolph has taken steps since the team's rookie minicamp, when things were thrown at them rapid fire. Now there is more time to learn the offense, and it's not often you see him walking around without his iPad, watching film and learning everything he can.

"We put more on my plate, more of the bulk of the offense," said Rudolph. "I am still trying to soak that in. And I will. It will just take a little bit of time.

"I think I have made some strides since rookie camp. We have the vets here so it brings a different element of competitiveness. It's been fun seeing the guys fly around, throw the ball around and make some plays."

There is one play, though, that still bugs him that he missed. On Day 1 of OTAs Rudolph had a chance to throw one to Antonio Brown. But it didn't work out for the duo.

"I threw a go-ball to Antonio and it was a little bit behind him and we didn't connect," said Rudolph. "It would have been great to connect with AB on the first day, but we'll get that at some point. I am going to be diligent about my progressions, my preparations. When he is in there, there is an emphasis on getting him the ball. He is an unbelievable playmaker. He gets those big chunk plays for us.

"Guys like him, guys like Jesse James that are so cerebral in what they do, how they work, it's impressive to be around them."

The other impressive players for Rudolph to be around have been his fellow quarterbacks. From Ben Roethlisberger, to Landry Jones, to Joshua Dobbs, all of them have been a great resource already. And Jones, in particular, has been helping Rudolph.

"He is great," said Rudolph. "He was out here and we were talking. We were filtering through a new center and he just gives me tips on hand placement, cadence and voice inflections and stuff like that. He's been awesome.

"Seeing those guys work and picking up what I can from them. Just seeing how the flow of practice goes and how it works. The competitive start of practice, we are down there in the score zone. We are trying to score and the defense is trying kick us out. It was a great first week and looking forward to progressing this week."