The Pittsburgh Steelers' offense simply isn't the same with Michael Vick at quarterback. Such a statement isn't a cut on Vick, but more the fact he has spent only 7 weeks in a system which was built around another player with a completely different skill set. That player being the Steelers' $100-million dollar man, Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, who injured his left knee in the team's Week 3 victory over the St. Louis Rams, is making his way back onto the practice field Wednesday. Before fans start clamoring for Roethlisberger's return the Heinz Field Sunday, they should realize his participation in practice is very limited, and only to 7-on-7 drills. Roethlisberger doesn't want to take any repetitions away from Vick and the starting offense.
While many fans across the globe have shown frustration with the Steelers' handing, and reporting, of Roethlisberger's injury, they are simply doing what is best for their player. A knee injury such as the one Roethlisberger suffered is a very fluid process. Putting a minor amount of stress on the joint, then seeing how it responds. Roethlisberger is clearly starting the next phase of his return to the playing field, but it no way does it mean he will be back sooner than later.
In fact, there is a chance his knee isn't ready to withstand any type of pass rush in two weeks. As Mike Tomlin repeatedly stated in the past weeks' press conferences, it simply is a day-to-day and week-to-week injury. Roethlisberger will return to the field in 2015, but until he is able to go through a full week's worth of practices as the starter, fans should take this breaking news with a grain of salt. After all, it was just last week where Ryan Shazier practiced fully throughout the week, only to be held out of the Monday Night Football game against the San Diego Chargers.
It is safe to say the Steelers definitely need Roethlisberger back as soon as possible. The offense has stumbled it's way to a 1-1 record in his absence, and Antonio Brown and the rest of the wide receiving corps have practically vanished from the stat sheet. However, as important as Roethlisberger is to this offense and the team, having him healthy for the stretch run in the second half of the season should supersede any plans of a premature return to live game action. Big Ben being a limited participant in practice is certainly a step in the right direction, but he has plenty more hurdles to jump before being cleared to play.