Mason Rudolph: Goal is to be starting QB for Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- With the future of the quarterback position uncertain beyond the 2021 season, backup Mason Rudolph is ready to take the reins of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"That's my goal, to be a starting quarterback in this league and for our team, and I'm working toward that goal every single day," Rudolph said Tuesday when asked about potentially succeeding Ben Roethlisberger next season. "I can only control myself and the way I prepare and the way I approach and play in OTAs and camp, and that's on the forefront of my mind.

"I'm not worried about '22 or anything like that. I'm trying to live in the moment and be the best I can for my team."

Rudolph, 25, is the only Steelers quarterback under contract in 2022 after signing a one-year, $5 million extension in April. The Steelers also added former Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins in free agency and re-signed backup Josh Dobbs, both on one-year deals.

"I think you're always excited and looking forward to competition," Rudolph said. "You know that it's going to be there each and every year, it's just a matter of who. ... Competition makes everybody better, and you look forward to that, especially in the offseason."

Though he started only in Week 17 last season, Rudolph showed improvement. In 2019, over 10 appearances, including eight starts in place of the injured Roethlisberger, Rudolph had nine interceptions and 13 touchdowns. In his 2020 Week 17 start, a loss to the Browns, Rudolph completed 22 of 39 attempts for 315 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

With the help of then-quarterbacks coach Matt Canada, Rudolph said he felt himself improving last season.

"Having Matt Canada, having a quarterback coach, really helped me take some steps forward and develop and have that confidant week-to-week where I could go to and ask questions," Rudolph said. "Small sample size, one game. You obviously want to win every ballgame you can, but there were a lot of positives to move forward from."