PITTSBURGH — When he returns from the concussion protocol, Mason Rudolph will be the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback. Coach Mike Tomlin made that much clear in his brief bye week press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“That guy is our quarterback when he clears the protocol,” Tomlin said. “It’s as simple as that. Appreciate the efforts of Duck (Hodges), but as soon as he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.”
But because the team is mostly off this week, there hasn’t been a rush to clear Rudolph with an evaluation from an independent neurologist.
“Technically he’s still in the concussion protocol,” Tomlin said. “There’s no extreme urgency in terms of getting him out of the protocol because we don’t work again until Monday. He’s been fully cleared to participate in the things we’ve been doing.”
Though he was in the protocol, Rudolph was a limited participant in practice last week, and Tomlin said that quarterback would’ve been a full participant in Wednesday’s practice if it hadn’t been canceled.
Rudolph traveled to Los Angeles for the Sunday night game against the L.A. Chargers but was inactive. In his place, Devlin “Duck” Hodges got his first career NFL start — and victory. But now, it appears duck season is officially closed.
“He didn’t kill us,” Tomlin said. “And that’s what you need from young quarterbacks. In general, he took care of the ball. He made plays he needed to make.
“But we were thoughtful about the positions we were put him in. We converted three or four possession downs via the run. Many others we dumped off in the flat and allowed James Conner to win them after the catch. We did the things we needed to do to secure victory in that instance.”