Elite Offensive Line Play
Often when a young quarterback is under constant pressure, they end up failing as starters due to diminished confidence. Luckily, Rudolph doesn’t have to worry about being under duress too often as Pittsburgh has one of the league’s best offensive lines. Alejandro Villanueva is an elite left tackle while Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro have all been tremendous linemen as well. Right tackle Matt Feiler is probably the team’s weakest link on the offensive line, but he still plays at an NFL-caliber level most of the time.
A big part of success when it comes to having a competent offensive line is continuity. More than any other position group, the offensive line needs time to gell and figure out how to play together. For the Steelers, this is a group with plenty of experience and time on the field together. Feiler is the least experienced starter, and even he has been with the team on-and-off since 2015. This is a group that has seen everything, and that type of experience is so valuable to a first-time starter in the backfield.
Another nice thing about this offensive line is that they are well-equipped to block for Rudolph’s style of play. Roethlisberger and Rudolph play in a similar fashion with both using their size and strength to move around in the pocket and keep plays alive. For some teams, having a quarterback that is active in the pocket is a detriment to the offensive line, but in Pittsburgh, it’s just another day at the office. Young quarterbacks need protection; luckily, Rudolph has some of the best in the NFL.