After watching the Steelers game versus the Bills on Sunday, there is a question that needs to be asked.  That question being is Ben Roethlisberger the weak link in the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff hopes for the 2021 season?  Many have questioned the depth in the secondary, or the completely revamped offensive line as to reasons this team would not succeed.  Top five concerns for the Steelers heading into the 2021 season  That may not be the case however.  It may just be that the Steelers weak link is also their biggest star.

Backyard Ben No More:

Even at his peak, Ben Roethlisberger was never considered a pinpoint passer.  His game was never based on quick, accurate throws.  When he was at his best, it was “Backyard Ben” style football.  Roethlisberger scrambling around shedding off would be tacklers until eventually coverage would break down.  His physical size, and underrated athleticism were his biggest strengths.  Big Ben is no longer capable, or even interested in doing the those type of things anymore..

A new Ben?:

What the Steelers have now is a game manager at quarterback.  Problem being, that is not the type of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is at his core.  Where he was at his best in 2020 was in the no-huddle offense.  Playing that same type of backyard football we referenced earlier.  That led to the blame going to Randy Fichtner, and his play calling, for all the team’s offensive struggles.  When the real problem was that Ben Roethlisberger may be incapable of running any structured offense.   We saw many of the same issues pop up Sunday despite a new system, and a new coordinator.  There were plenty of errant throws, receivers led into coverage, and near turnovers that plagued Roethlisberger in the Fichtner system.

The hope of course is that Roethlisberger improves as he gets more and more comfortable with the Matt Canada system.  Unfortunately, thirty eight year old quarterbacks generally do not improve as the season goes on.  They tend to breakdown as the wear and tear of the season takes hold.  We saw this last season where Roethlisberger threw nine of his fourteen total interceptions in the month of December and the playoff game.  Like it or not, the Steelers weak link is at quarterback.  Overcoming this will be the team’s biggest challenge.