Study and Netflix: Like college for Steelers rookie dorm mates – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog


PITTSBURGH — James Washington and Mason Rudolph became an elite offensive duo at Oklahoma State by always staying in rhythm.

Rudolph might have taken that process a little too far in the dorms of Saint Vincent College, where the Pittsburgh Steelers rookies share a room.

“He has this machine that makes these sounds — it plays, like, the ocean and tropical rains,” Washington said. “I guess it makes him sleep better.”

Apparently Rudolph has noise to block out, too.

“He snores,” a smirking Rudolph said of Washington. “I try to sleep.”

The Steelers have paired Washington and Rudolph as roommates dating back to organized team activities. Familiarity made this an easy call. The duo put on a weekly NCAA light show the past three seasons with nearly 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. The Steelers liked the tandem so much that they used back-to-back draft picks on Washington (No. 60 overall) and Rudolph (No. 79).

All those yards don’t matter now for two rookies trying to master an NFL playbook inside a dorm with sterile white brick walls, with fewer amenities than the SpringHill Suites that housed them in May and June.

Between team meetings and Netflix sessions — and well before Rudolph’s nightly sleep-science kick — the two will quiz each other on the next day’s offensive menu, from “seven shots” goal-line work, a Mike Tomlin favorite, to two-minute drills.

“[Rudolph] will start showing signals and I’ll blurt them out,” Washington said. “If I don’t know, he’ll answer them. It’s just exchanging information. It helps us learn this offense a little better together. And we’re able to do the things that the 1s (starters) do because we know signals and how to interact with each other.”

They share a bathroom with rookie safeties Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen in a two-bedroom setup, which helps Rudolph get to know new teammates while strengthening his relationship with the old one.

“[Washington] was always at my place or I was always at his place in college, so I think at this point I need to learn more about my other teammates because I know pretty much everything about James,” Rudolph said. “So we’re always coming back and forth between rooms. You’re not in the room much, so when you are, you’ve got a TV, maybe watch something on the iPad.”

Rudolph knows Washington has an affinity for cars — he spent part of the summer souping up a Chevy C10 back home in Stamford, Texas — so it’s no surprise Washington ends most nights watching “Fastest Car” on Netflix, a show for true gearheads.

Washington’s wheels spun around the Steelers’ practice field late last week for multiple big plays with different quarterbacks. He snagged a one-handed catch behind his back and a 50-yard bomb from Josh Dobbs. Getting some first-team run while Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster were held out, Washington converted two touchdowns in the corner of the end zone delivered by Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers drafted Washington to help offset the loss of Martavis Bryant, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round pick. With long legs and a graceful leap, Washington never has had a problem going deep. But learning the basics of the offense with Rudolph has helped take the thinking out of the game in real time.

“You have to win with fundamentals, because everyone is athletic here,” Washington said. “It’s all coming along.”

Rudolph, too, is improving, finishing the weekend strongly after experiencing ball-security issues early in camp. His touch pass to streaking tight end Jesse James in Sunday’s short-yardage drill was slick. He went 5-of-6 with an across-the-middle touchdown to Jaylen Samuels in a two-minute drill against a mix of first-, second- and third-string defenders.

While Washington is tasked with producing for the offense now, Rudolph is a play for the future, a possible successor to Roethlisberger sometime in the next three to five years.

That’s why Rudolph finds himself forcing the issue with other receivers, because he knows Washington will always be exactly where he needs him.

“I can go out there and say get James the ball and I know where he’d be and how his body moves,” Rudolph said.

The August roster push requires both to remain well-rested, even if the approaches vary.

“I’m not as serious as he is with it,” Washington said with a laugh. “I try to get at least eight hours, though.”

Source : ESPN