Aubrey Bruce: The merry, merry-go-round of Steelers backup quarterbacks

How long will Chris Oladokun stick around?


by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier 

In my opinion, “Training Camp 2022” officially began on Monday, Aug. 1. Camp “unofficially” began on July 26, when the players reported. But the snap, crackle and chiropractic bone poppin’ did not begin until the first day of Augustus when the players stopped their tiptoeing through the tulips and got to crackin’ because Tiny Tim was nowhere to be found…you diggg. 

Now first-round pick QB Kenny Pickett, the standout from Pitt, got some great news from the door because he finally was given the opportunity to step under center with the second-team offense and get some reps. Pickett was elevated behind starter Mitch Trubisky for the moment. He got two repetitions in the practice-opening Seven Shots drill and remained with the second team for the rest of the day. 

Now hear this. Mason Rudolph continues to remind me of his former mentor, the now-defunct Steelers QB Landry “Mr. Clipboard” Jones, the former Steelers career backup to the tired and retired Ben Roethlisberger. Have the Steelers and Mason Rudolph been infected with a “variant” of the Landry Jones syndrome? Did the Black and Gold lose former Steelers and present Cleveland Browns QB Joshua Dobbs, twice because they held onto Landry Jones a bit too long, hoping that Mr. Jones would somehow morph into a quality NFL starting QB, ready, willing, and able to come blazing out of the barn to replace “Big” Ben out on the range when Roethlisberger finally decided to hang up his spurs and break camp? Will Mason Rudolph be to Mitch Trubisky, what Landry Jones was to Ben Roethlisberger?

To most informed observers, Landry Jones only earned a Ph.D. in “sideline etiquette” and “bench-ology.” He was a mere maintainer seemingly worried only about getting paid and with the passion of a “Barbie Doll;” completely satisfied by being second banana. I have a sneaking suspicion that QB Chris Oladokun is not going to hang around three or four years hoping and dreaming to be elevated on the depth chart of the Steelers.



As far as passion goes, other than the “racially insensitive” incident that happened during the 2019 season between Mason Rudolph and Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, Rudolph appeared to very seldom be (at least to me) ultra-hyped about being a bona fide NFL starter.  Instead of “just win baby,” the only attitude that I could pick up from him was, “just pay me baby.” 

The conflict with Myles Garrett seemed to be based on the reality that Rudolph seemed to be annoyed and embarrassed because the “Brownies” were beating him up as if he were just caught stealing from Walmart. Rudolph seemed to be sort of a ho-hum kind of guy. Will QB Chris Oladokun have a genuine opportunity to make the team? If past actions are an indicator, you may bet your grandmother’s last slab of ribs and jar of moonshine that Oladokun will be cut or land on the practice squad before or during the 2022 season because he isn’t getting (at least not up to this point) a legitimate opportunity to make the team.  Are the Steelers destined to repeat history by holding onto Mason Rudolph too long, hence permitting a new Mason Rudolph “variant” of the Landry Jones syndrome to infect the team and eventually lose QB Chris Oladokun, whom they drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL draft?   

The Steelers’ second-round draft pick this year, WR George Pickens, out of Georgia, seems to have more football intellect and maturity than many rookie picks and if he stays healthy, the Black and Gold may have chosen a star for the future. T.J. Watt is, well, just T.J.  Watt; a hard-worker and a leader by sample and example. Cam Heyward is truly the son of “Ironhead.” With Cam there are no ifs, ands, buts or maybes; just grits and gravy, baby. When you face Cam Heyward, bring your hard hat, lunch pail, and plenty of water to stay hydrated because trust me, it’s going to be a long and hot afternoon or evening.

I was able to grab a few ingredients from Steelers Camp 2022 take to my bakery. Now let’s see if we have enough to bake a cake.



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