Steelers let Mason Rudolph operate under center more than Ben Roethlisberger did
With Mason Rudolph having replaced Ben Roethlisberger as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, so has their heavy reliance on the shotgun snap.
According to the NFL’s official game play-by-play of this past Monday’s win against the Cincinnati Bengals and not counting kneeldowns or direct snaps to a running back, the Steelers operated under center on 13 of their 48 snaps (27%). For basis of comparison, during the most recent game Roethlisberger started and finished, he was under center 3% of the time.
That’s not a coincidence, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said Thursday.
“We designed a package around our hall of fame quarterback in the ’gun and ’gun runs,” Fichtner said after practice Thursday. “Things that are very appealing to his eye.
“We’ve been under center a whole lot more (with Rudolph). That’s an attempt to help others and the quarterback more. It might open things up more for you if you handle it the right way.”
THREAD: The #Steelers have run this draw out of the shotgun with Conner twice this season. The execution of it vs CIN resulted in a 21-yard gain, Conner’s longest of the season. DeCastro’s execution is perfect and Feiler sets the edge perfectly and Conner hits the hole with speed pic.twitter.com/FIOeIayret
— Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) October 3, 2019
Oddly enough, Rudolph played almost his entire college career in the shotgun at Oklahoma State. But, theoretically, being under center could help the running game, and if the running game is working that could help Rudolph establish a play-action passing game.
The Steelers – like the NFL at large – have been trending more toward the shotgun and away from under-center play for several years now. For the season according to www.sharpfootballstats.com, the Steelers have gone under center 13% of their snaps. Last season, it was 21%, in 2017 it was 29% and in 2016 they were under center 34% of the time.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .