This season the Pittsburgh Steelers learned one major thing. They do not have a replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.
After the season-ending injury to Big Ben we watched a quarterback “duel” and I use that term loosely. The Duel was between heir apparent to Roethlisberger Mason Rudolph and plucky undrafted cult hero Devlin “Duck” Hodges.
In the beginning, we watched Rudolph have mild success while the team was able to stay in games but never able to win them. Then a huge trade happened and the Steelers acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins.
Suddenly Pittsburgh has the second-best defense in the league. All they needed was a proficient offense
Rudolph got hurt and in came a pheasant. A bird, a man whose moniker was as peculiar as his name. Duck Hodges managed to will the Steelers to two wins before Mason was deemed healthy and took the reigns again.
Then in Week 11, Myles Garrett lost his ever-loving mind and tried to kill Mason on the field at the end of the game. Who was at fault, I am not here to discuss. It was the fall out of this event that is important. Rudolph was clearly rattled.
Editors Note: It was definitely Myles Garrett’s fault
So Tomlin made a decision. Midway through the Week 12 matchup with the Bengals. Moving forward it would be the Duck’s Season.
The Duck managed to win a handful of games and keep the Steelers in the playoff race until the last week of the regular season.
However, as the Duck flew he also began to be exposed. Particularly for having a weak arm.
After falling behind early in a must-win game. Tomlin handed the reigns back to Mason Rudolph. It looked like the second coming of Christ. Mason started to make great decisions that started to stretch the field. Engaging multiple targets forcing defenses to open up coverages. A glimmer of hope. The Steelers were going to make the playoffs. Maybe even win a game!
Then a clearly late hit forced Rudolph out of the game.
The remaining game and a half the Steelers season were hopeless. The Duck had no magic left. And there was no help coming from the bench.
So now in the offseason, they need to reasonably address their future at quarterback. This team is young. And despite Big Ben’s best intentions, this team’s prime will be after his playing career. So now is a time for the Steelers to make a decision.
Allow Ben to start moving forward that is clear, but who is the next guy. That’s where Gardner Minshew comes in.
I do believe that Mason Rudolph has the chance to be an NFL quarterback. But we learned that the chosen Princes needed someone motivating him from underneath. Minshew’s presence would do that.
Also, I firmly believe the Gunslinger from Washington State can be a star in this league. He has a big arm and likes to throw the ball deep. He comes from a program known as an air raid offense. Where he was incurably successful.
Now tell me with that receiving core you saw this year that we couldn’t replicate a similar system in Pittsburgh. Washington, Johnson, Ju-Ju, Cain, and the list keeps growing. No true number one receiver but instead an armada of lethal talented receivers receiving balls from a god damn cowboy.
Which should be the type of offense that Ben and Rudolph should be comfortable in as well.
Look I have no stats to back this up, this is solely an opinion piece.
But as a lapsed Steelers fan I’m invested in this team. I am invested for the first time in my life. But a town that has bloodthirst for winning, they won’t keep our attention for long if they don’t win.
I have a hunch that Minshew has the right personality to be a quarterback in Pittsburgh. I think the Steelers have tools already in place that would benefit him. And with Ben still here for a season or two, it’s a good chance for him to learn and grow into a stud.
I know there are better QBs out there. And that the draft has a few good ones. But honestly, I just have a hunch, Minshew is our guy.