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Steelers’ Mason Rudolph earns high praise from Bengals coach Zac Taylor

Mason Rudolph, Zac Taylor, Steelers, Bengals

Zac Taylor’s Cincinnati Bengals won’t have to face a Pittsburgh Steelers squad led by Ben Roethlisberger on Monday. After Big Ben’s season-ending elbow surgery, Mason Rudolph is the quarterback the coach is preparing for.

For Taylor, that doesn’t mean taking a break from the film room. The first-year Bengals head coach is all too aware that Rudolph presents a challenge for Taylor and the Cincinnati defense.

“Good football player,” said Taylor on Friday, via the Steelers official website. “Coming out of Oklahoma State, he was one of the better (quarterbacks) in that class,” said Taylor It wouldn’t have surprised me if someone would’ve taken him in the first round. I do remember that. He was a really solid, consistent, accurate passer.”

A former quarterbacks coach under Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams, Taylor’s opinion is more than valid. Rudolph is an impressive prospect, as Taylor notes. He possesses ideal size, a big arm and accuracy over the middle of the field. Through two games (one start), he’s thrown for 286 yards, four touchdown and two interceptions on a 58.6% completion rate.

While showing promise, Rudolph is going through his growing pains as an NFL quarterback. The Steelers’ offense isn’t particularly helping him either, as, in his first start, he completed just two passes over one yard. Both were touchdowns. For the majority of his first start, Pittsburgh restricted him to check-downs and screens — a testament to a conservative game plan.

Both the Steelers and Bengals are 0-3 going into their “Monday Night Football” divisional brawl.