In 2004, when Ben Roethlisberger was the Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick, the “Big Ben” era began in the Steel City. From the moment he stepped onto the field in Baltimore for an injured Tommy Maddox, fans have loved No. 7 and what he brings to the team.
A big arm with big stats to back it up.
Who can forget the multiple games with 500+ yards passing. The 6 touchdown performances. The late-game heroics.
All have played a role in the “Big Ben” persona which has lead to nothing but success for the black-and-gold, including two Super Bowl titles. However, almost at the mid-way point of the 2017 regular season, fans are seeing a new Ben Roethlisberger. While many think of new, and immediately think ‘bad’, this certainly isn’t the case. ‘New’ can also have ‘Improved’ attached to it, but either way you look at it, Roethlisberger’s game in evolving.
First, Roethlisberger is not the main man in the Steelers’ offense anymore. Instead, he is the conductor of a new run-oriented running offense. This will decrease his overall attempts a game, but will also make life a lot easier for the aging quarterback. Roethlisberger is still an integral part of the offense, but is not being asked to go out and win games with his arm anymore. Instead, a balanced attack with a power running game has replaced the finesse, pass-happy offense.
Second, Roethlisberger is leaning on his expertise, and experience, to put the team in the best position possible to succeed. Roethlisberger has been able to read defenses, use his years of experience, and overall knowledge of the offense, to allow the Steelers to trust him with Run/Pass Option style plays and offensive schemes.
Next, the big play has been missing, but seems poised to strike in the second half of the season. Whether these are deep passes to Martavis Bryant upon his return, or any number of receivers on the roster, Roethlisberger connecting on deep passes is truly what has kept the Steelers’ offense from being its absolute best. The team hasn’t been taking as many shots down the field as they once did, but this could return as more defenses load the box to attempt to stop the run.
Lastly, this new Roethlisberger is ultimately a quarterback who will resemble more of a game manager than a gunslinger. It is a change of pace for both Roethlisberger and the fans, but very well could lead to more success for the team, which is ultimately what matters the most. The team doesn’t need him to throw 40+ times a game, and that is okay.
A new “Big Ben” doesn’t mean a bad “Big Ben”, but fans are seeing No. 7 evolving in front of their very eyes. With this evolution, it very well could lead to nothing but success for the Steelers down the stretch.
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