Chalk Talk: Mason Rudolph’s Biggest Weakness

first_imgOn paper, Mason Rudolph has been excellent this season. He has already thrown for over 2,200 yards and has 14 touchdowns this season. He logged 220 yards and a touchdown in a solid passing performance against Kansas.But while Rudolph is an efficient passer, he is by no means perfect. His biggest weakness actually has nothing to do with his passing ability; rather, it’s completely mental. Rudolph’s biggest weakness is his indecisiveness, and it showed in the Cowboys’ 44-20 win against the Jayhawks on Saturday.Watch this play, for example:sl_cross_sackThe Cowboys are running play action with a slot cross concept flooding the right side of the field. This particular play is known as a triangle read, as it has three receivers making a triangle on the strong side of the field.122-sl-crossTriangle concepts are designed to allow the quarterback to make quick decisions with all three receivers in his vision. And the play itself works — both McCleskey (on the slot cross) and Chris Carson (on the flat release) are open.openRudolph should have immediately looked to the cross and hit McCleskey as soon as he stepped foot on the Jayhawk logo. But Rudolph doesn’t properly go through his progressions and, because of his indecisiveness, gets sacked.Here’s another example, this time in the red zone:double_sackRudolph has an open receiver, but because he waits too long, he is forced to dance around in the pocket and is eventually sacked. The Cowboys are running what’s known as a double under or double china concept.double-chinaThe inside slot receiver runs a corner route, which is often taken advantage of in goal line situations to ensure one-on-one coverage (it was in fact used in this fashion by OSU in the fourth quarter on the goal line.)The other slot receiver is running an under route and can “climb” the open field to avoid the weak-side linebacker. The outside receiver is also running an under and is trailing the first under route (hence the term double under).midshotNotice in both the gif and the picture above how McCleskey is setting up his cornerback to beat him to the inside. Also notice in the gif how there is only one high safety and James Washington (inside slot) has one-on-one coverage on the outside-breaking route.Rudolph could have either passed it to McCleskey coming out of his break or made the pre-snap decision to lob it to Washington in the corner of the end zone. Instead, he held it and got sacked.These were not the only examples of Rudolph being indecisive. Sometimes, on third downs especially, he waits too long for a route to develop instead of pinpointing a receiver or taking his check down.throwHe also occasionally misses his windows in the progression of the play, which then forces him to sit longer in the pocket.quads_sackIt is important to reiterate that Rudolph is by no means an average quarterback. He consistently makes impressive throws and has been a huge factor in the Cowboys’ recent offensive success.He has also already recorded 41 career touchdowns and will leave OSU as one of the best quarterbacks in recent memory. But he still has his flaws, and this is his biggest one.The positive is that it isn’t because of a lack of physical ability and can be coached. Let’s hope that Rudolph can improve his decisiveness for this week’s game, because all eyes will be on him against West Virginia.What do you think Rudolph’s biggest weakness is? Leave your message below in the comments! While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img

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