Steelers Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is - Part I

The Pittsburgh Steelers are searching for a happy medium. They have a $102 million quarterback, clearly among the top 10 franchise quarterbacks in the NFL. The strength of Ben Roethlisberger is his toughness, ability to shake defenders and uncanny knack to extend and make plays. The weakness of this style of play is the vulnerability to injury. Roethlisberger, sacked 314 times in his regular-season career, limped along with his team into the playoffs last season and exited stage left as an eight-point favorite.

After the one-and-out playoffs, the Steelers sent messages loud and clear, both in words and in actions. The words came from Art Rooney II, who declared that Big Ben needed to tweak his game. The actions spoke even louder when Pittsburgh fired offensive coordinator and Roethlisberger's backyard grill-mate, Bruce Arians. The mandate of all this? Keep Roethlisberger upright as he enters the second half of his career and reduce the number of times his now 30-year-old body gets blasted. Insisting that Ben tweak his game and changing his immediate boss is all fine and well, but management too must put its money where its mouth is.

The Steelers used a staggering 10 different starting lineups on the offensive line last season. Five different guys played tackle and four different guys played guard. While injuries certainly have created much of the team's line turmoil over the last several years, protecting your $102 million franchise quarterback with linemen picked up at a flea market is like Brinks transporting the Hope Diamond in a Ford Fiesta.

Every year prior to the Draft I scream for two things: cornerbacks and offensive linemen. This year I didn't beg for the former. I want to give our developing guys a chance to show their stuff - Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen - before we add to many more guys onto the pile. This year I threw most of my prayers into the O-line basket (with maybe a middle linebacker and nose tackle sprinkled in). Interestingly, a case could be made that the Steelers are more dependent upon a premium offensive line than any other NFL team. No other team has a quarterback like Ben, who skakes defenders, buys time and extends plays.

Perhaps Ben should tweak his game a bit, but at the same time, the Steelers do not want to shackle the unique qualities that Ben brings to the table. The last several years have been a chemical mismatch. The strength of guys like Manning, Brees, Brady and Rodgers is that they don't require much time to run their offense effectively. The strength of Roethlisberger is best displayed when he does have a little time. Obviously no quarterback wants an offensive line held together with duct tape and paper clips, but with Ben, it is kryptonite. Peyton Manning makes a mediocre line look good. Roethlisberger makes a poor line look horrible.

Enter David DeCastro...To be continued...

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker