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Rudolph, Washington Learning What They Can from Steelers’ Veteran Stars



After going through his first full week of OTAs, Steelers third-round pick Mason Rudolph spoke with media members about his ongoing connection with James Washington, trying to build a similar connection with Antonio Brown and how much he’s improved since rookie minicamp.

“I feel great,” said Rudolph. “I think I have made some strides since rookie camp. We have the vets here so it brings a different element of competitiveness. It’s been fun seeing the guys fly around, throw the ball around and make some plays.”

Much has been made about Rudolph’s relationship with Ben Roethlisberger but he says that he’s learned from all three of his elder QBs.

“It’s great being out there with Landry [Jones] and Josh [Dobbs] and then Ben [Roethlisberger] on Tuesday, and seeing those guys work and picking up what I can from them. Seeing how the flow of practice goes, how it works… It was a great week. I’m looking forward to studying over the weekend and coming back and progressing next week.”

For Rudolph it’s all about getting better every day.

“I think I had a good rookie minicamp” Rudolph said. “I think the Friday morning practice, which is the first one, I struggled, which was to be expected. [I] had a great Saturday and this week we put a little bit more on my plate, just more of the bulk of the offense.

“So I’m still trying to soak that in, I will, it will just talk a little bit of time. But I had a great week I thought. Made some mistakes but made a lot of good plays as well.”

One of those guys “flying around” was a familiar target. Rudolph was asked about a deep ball that he connected on with James Washington.

“We design stuff to try to get the ball to him,” Rudolph said of Washington. “That’s what he does best. He did a lot of taking five-step slants to the house in college. But he runs a great deep route. Does a great job of staying on his landmarks, making a combative catch in traffic.

“He’s got a higher ceiling to make plays body control-wise than anyone else. You always give him the benefit of the doubt.”

But just like Rudolph is the low man on the totem pole, his former No. 1 target is no longer the big wideout on campus either.

“I threw a go-ball to Antonio and it was a little bit behind him and we didn’t connect,” said Rudolph. “It would have been great to connect with AB on the first day, but we’ll get that at some point. I am going to be diligent about my progressions, my preparations. When he is in there, there is an emphasis on getting him the ball. He is an unbelievable playmaker. He gets those big chunk plays for us.

“Guys like him, guys like Jesse James that are so cerebral in what they do, how they work, it’s impressive to be around them.”

Rudolph should get his chance to work on the chemistry between he and Brown, who thinks the rookie QB is in the perfect situation playing behind a future Hall of Famer in Roethlisberger.

“He gets to watch Ben, one of the greatest who’s ever done it. That’s my take,” Brown said. “A quarterback, this is where you want to be, around a great quarterback, a guy who’s done it a long time, someone who’s a champion, someone you can learn from, and I think he’s in a great position to learn from Ben.

“When he gets an opportunity, whether it’s this year, next year or a couple years from now, I think he’ll be ready from seeing how Ben prepares, see how he goes about his business.” [ESPN]

Brown, himself, is someone worth looking up to for another former OSU star. James Washington was asked what he’d learned from the six-time Pro Bowler in their short time on the field together.

“He hasn’t worked with me one-on-one, but just watching him I have already picked up a few things,” said Washington. “His character on the field. The way he runs his routes, he is so crisp and elite with every move he makes.

“Every time we are on the field I try to match his work ethic. We have a GPS and I want mine right up there with his every day.”

Sounds like the Prez will fit right in with AB.

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