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Steelers Release Curious Depth Chart, but Tomlin Says Washington is ‘Kicking A**’

Washington and Rudolph are buried on the Steelers’ official depth chart.



Yesterday morning the Pittsburgh Steelers released their first depth chart of the 2018 season. It was … interesting.

The NFL requires every team to release a depth chart ahead of their first preseason game. Otherwise, there’s a pretty slim chance Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin would provide any insight to fans and media on position depth and rotations as he has historically not been a proponent of this.

However, the Steelers’ preseason opener is this Thursday in Philadelphia and Tomlin must comply with league rules, so we have the “depth chart” shown in the image below.


I’ve only shown the offense as there’s two positions on this depth chart which concern Oklahoma State fans … quarterback and wide receiver.

Mason Rudolph

Let’s start with quarterback.  It’s no surprise that former Cowboy signal caller Mason Rudolph is currently listed as the fourth string quarterback on the initial depth chart behind Ben Roethlisberger, former OU quarterback Landry Jones and former Tennesse quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

Roethlisberger is the clear-cut starter, so Rudolph is currently competing with Jones and Dobbs for the backup role. Jones has been a part of the Steelers’ organization since 2013 and Dobbs was here last year, so they have an experience advantage over Rudolph.

Rudolph struggled through the early part of training camp, but it looks to be turning around for the young QB. He had a nice showing in Friday’s practice and decided to stay after and work with the tight ends to ensure they were all on the same page.

This extra work looks to have paid off as Rudolph had another solid performance at Saturday’s practice.

Rudolph said his ability to learn from his mistakes instead of letting them discourage him have led to the recent success.

“There is no sudden leap to greatness,” Rudolph said. “Every day you have to chip away at it and if you learn something every single day, which I have, we are going in the right direction.” [The Athletic]

It’s going to be tough for Rudolph to surpass Jones as the No. 2 quarterback with all Jones’ experience, not only in the NFL, but specifically with the Steelers. In regards to the third string spot, even though Dobbs has performed well in camp, if Rudolph continues on this upward trajectory, I believe the Pittsburgh coaching staff will favor him over Dobbs based on his upside.

Jones will get the start heading into the preseason opener, but expect Rudolph to get some action and hopefully he builds off the positive momentum from his recent outings at training camp.

James Washington

Now, let’s move on to the depth chart position that had me slightly confused.  After all the noise and highlight plays James Washington has been making at training camp, he’s currently listed at the 5th string No. 2 wide receiver. 5TH STRING?!?! How is that even possible?

I understand him being placed behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darrius Heyward-Bey, but Tevin Jones, the 25 year-old who’s never caught a pass in the NFL, and Trey Griffey, who went undrafted in 2017 and was waived by both the Colts and Dolphins last season, doesn’t make much sense.

Look, I know Griffey has had a solid camp so far, and his dad is the GOAT, but the dude has not been performing like Washington has in practice.

As I mentioned above, the depth chart should be taken with a grain of salt and it is very fluid, but still, it blows my mind that Washington wasn’t listed as third string when the Steelers released it.

I expect Washington to move up and move up fast. At the practice after the depth chart was released, Washington caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Big Ben to end a two-minute drill.

According to The Athletic, Tomlin turned to the media after the catch and stated, “You guys are going to write how much ass 13 is kicking, aren’t you?”

It’s not a huge surprise to Oklahoma State fans that Washington is making such an impact early on, as they have seen him make plays time and time again at Oklahoma State, but hearing something like that from a coach of Tomlin’s stature should still bring a smile to your face.

Roethlisberger had some positive things to say about the young receiver as well.

“I think he starts to wane a little bit toward the end of a period but he’s has lasted longer than most receivers that come in here, I can tell you that,” Roethlisberger said.

“I’ve seen him make some plays, he’s learning. It becomes fast. Everything is thrown at you pretty quickly. Things are coming in all directions so I think he’s doing well.” [The Athletic]

From Rudolph’s perspective, Washington’s ability to not let anything distract him allows him to be such a good football player.

“His life is pretty simple. Take care of his family, get back on the farm, be a redneck, practice and then go perform on the football field.” [Penn Live]

It’s a very exciting time for both Rudolph and Washington as the team prepares for the preseason opener.  In addition, it’s an exciting time for Oklahoma State fans because they will get to see two former Cowboys get a lot of reps at the highest level.

Although Rudolph will have to wait for Big Ben to pass him the torch, I believe there is the potential for Washington to make an impact right away. And, for both players, the future looks very bright.

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