SteelerNation.com

Taking A Look at Ben Roethlisberger’s Impact This Year

By Adam McCoy
SteelerNation.com

It seems like it was forever ago that the announcement was made that our future Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was going to be out for the rest of the season. Many thought that without his impact, the team would be lost, and a playoff berth would be nothing but a distant pipe dream. Nearly a month and a half later, with the Steelers sitting at 3-4 and fighting for a playoff position, Big Ben’s impact has been more important than ever, just not on the football field.

Enter Mason Rudolph, the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. Drafted just a year ago in the 3rd round, Mason was and is to be the man to take over after Big Ben eventually hangs up the cleats. The Steelers organization has been very vocal in their liking of Mason Rudolph, saying last year they put a 1st round grade on Mason, and were thrilled to get him in the 3rd round. That being said, I’m sure they didn’t imagine a world where Mason Rudolph would be starting most of the season this early in his career. Give Mason all the credit in the world, he has stepped in and has been more than serviceable in Ben’s absence, but that doesn’t mean that Ben has been completely absent from the equation.

Many will recall Ben being somewhat critical of the Steelers drafting a quarterback in back to back years, even jokingly saying he wouldn’t help Mason Rudolph, which has been anything but the case.

It started back in training camp. For the most part, Ben rested during camp. When you have a veteran quarterback like Ben, you don’t have to put him through the rigors of camp — make sure he’s healthy, in shape, and he can still throw the ball, that’s all you need to see out of him. This year, Ben took on a mentor role, taking the slew of young quarterbacks under his wing, including at the time Joshua Dobbs, Devlin Hodges, and Mason Rudolph. A role like this simply cannot be understated enough. There aren’t too many young quarterbacks in the league who get to learn from a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and one man who is making the most of that opportunity is Mason Rudolph.

To say there was a jump in progression from his rookie year to this year would be a complete understatement.  Mason has shown a near elite ability to extend plays and go through reads to make the right throw when under pressure. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Ben’s leadership and mentor-ship has been on full display this year as we’ve watched Mason Rudolph grow and develop. It was on full display Monday night after Mason threw an early interception against the Miami Dolphins. The camera went to the sideline and showed Ben helping him, telling him where he needs to put the ball on that route for the best chance of success. Ben has been quoted saying, “He didn’t just manage the game. He went out and won the game,” and has told Mason he’d be there to help him as little or as much as he needs. I’m betting there are a lot of young quarterbacks in the league that wish they had that when they come to the sidelines.

Though he may not be playing this year, it’s important not to understate the impact that Ben Roethlisberger continues to have on this team. With said impact, could this potentially open up a path in coaching for Ben later down the road? Only time will tell.

 

How else do you think Ben continues to help this team? Let us know in the comments down below!

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