Mason Rudolph Playing with "Us or Nobody Mentality" In Passing Game
The Steelers' Week 10 challenge is one more difficult than most. The Los Angeles Rams head to Heinz Field after acquiring one of the league's best cornerbacks. Quarterback Mason Rudolph remains focused on keeping the winning streak alive, but understands the matchup at hand.
Los Angeles' front seven has talent at every position. The list of names jumps out unlike any other, and with names like Aaron Donald and Clay Matthews, there's no hiding the skill set Pittsburgh is faced with competing against.
"They've got a lot of great players," Rudolph said. "Up front they're very physical - Fowler, Clay Matthews will be back, obviously [Aaron] Donald, and not only upfront but it's the entire defense throughout. They're a great and Wade Phillips defense is, he's been a heck of a coordinator for a long time so we know what the challenge is this week and we're ready for it."
On top of the Rams defense, Rudolph is also challenge with poor weather conditions on Sunday. The forecast in Pittsburgh calls for colder temperatures and snow throughout the weekend, leaving quarterbacks with unpleasant obstacles when throwing the ball.
Rudolph said he's been working on throwing in unideal conditions during his time in the NFL, and in Pittsburgh he's had plenty of opportunities to test his ability in different elements.
"Any chance you get to throw the ball in weather, and I think I tried to give myself those opportunities last year, I had a little bit of a crash course in cold weather - rain sleet, snow - and so you make those reps," Rudolph said. "Last year, whether it was the off week or the bye, I went out and threw with a couple of the equipment guys. I think that builds up confidence and you'll be accurate, so you can go about your normal business when conditions may not be the best."
One change Pittsburgh is hoping to make this week is the improvement in the redzone. The Steelers converted only 38% of their redzone drives this season, ranking them 28th in the league.
Rudolph says the team will stick with their game plan near the endzone and points to making plays as the only way for those numbers to improve, whether that means taking chances in the endzone or allowing a player to make a play.
"I think as long as you take calculated risks, putting the ball - giving our guy a chance, 'us or nobody' is a phrase we use around here a lot." Rudolph said. "There's definitely a time and place to push the ball and make calculated decisions and when it's not there you put the ball in the endzone or give our guy a chance underneath."
The effort to revive the pass game stay constant, but Rudolph is focused on giving him players the best shot to make a play. As plays develop, Rudolph is focused on pinpointing open targets, and keeping the ball in the hands of the offense for another play.
"I think I've got a good feel for guys that are open, I think I've always done that in college there were times when it wasn't need, but Coach Randy [Fichtner] emphasizes that a lot," Rudolph said. "When windows get smaller you really got to do a good job of throwing to spots and trusting guys are going to go get the ball for you and make a play. It's us or no body mentality."