There are some who subscribe to the theory of every dark cloud has a silver lining. And currently, with the coronavirus pandemic running rampant across the country, there is a pretty large could looming over the sports world.
Everything has been shut down.
No Opening Day for MLB.
No playoffs for the NHL or NBA.
And it is already looking like the offsesason workouts scheduled for the NFL are being delayed.
For the sports fanatic, things couldn’t get worse, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, it could actually be a good thing.
Roethlisberger recently spoke with Ed Bouchette of The Athletic, and he spoke about how he was preparing to be ready for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamps, but since those have been shut down, he can ease back off his rehabilitation and ensure his arm is ready for the rigors of NFL life.
“I was going to be ready to go for OTAs and the minicamps,” Roethlisberger said “That was going to be the plan. Now I don’t know how much I was going to do, I don’t know if I was going to be doing team stuff or stuff like that, but I would have been definitely going to be out there ready to go.”
“Now that we don’t have those [practices], we took a step back and backed up a week,’’ Roethlisberger said. “We said let’s just make sure and slow it down some more and take it even a step slower. It’s going really, really well, though.
“The doctor is very ultra-conservative moving forward. We’re just trying to be smart, and putting the brakes on me a lot because I was kind of ‘Go, go go.’ You know me, trying to get back out there.”
Roethlisberger has been using specific technology to help him read things like spin rate and velocity, both which are critical for a quarterback to have success in the NFL.
“It reads the spin rate and reads the velocity and reads the spiral efficiency” he said. “All these things. We did it actually in training camp in 2018 so it’s actually cool, we have a baseline from a couple of years ago so we can compare, see where we are.
“It’s neat to have those tools because in your own mind you say, ‘Ok, that felt 50 percent, that felt 75 percent.’ I mean you can do that but it’s hard to really tell. We have this data and it’s making it easier and making it able to read these throws. Pretty much every throw we have data on. Right now I do like a 20-throw warmup at 10 yards and then we back up and we do 10 throws at 15, 10 throws at 20, 10 at 25 yards. I’m throwing it right now off the numbers and data, probably right around 60 percent. That’s just me choosing to be at that number. I know I can let it go and throw, but what’s the point, why? There’s no reason to throw as hard as I can right now.”
Roethlisberger didn’t just speak on his elbow, but also on the acquisition of tight end Eric Ebron.
“I was a big fan of his coming out [of college],” Roethlisberger said, via Ed Bouchette of TheAthletic.com. “I was really impressed with him, thought he was a great football player. Ebron said to me, ‘When I was with [former Steelers receiver] Lance Moore in Detroit, he told me how much you wanted me when I was coming out or a free agent. I just wanted to thank you.’ Now that he’s here, I’m excited to see what he can bring to this team. We know he’s an incredible talent. Speaking to him, I can see his desire, and his passion to be great. I’m excited what he can bring to the table opposite Vance [McDonald].”
It is safe to say Roethlisberger is the linchpin for the Steelers in 2020. If he is able to play well, and stay healthy, he could be the missing piece to the puzzle. Combining an above average offense with an elite defense and making a push at not just a playoff berth, but a run at another Super Bowl.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, and the new season.