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Ben Roethlisberger: “…it starts with me.”

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Ben Roethlisberger: “…it starts with me.”

After losing their second consecutive home game, this time to the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his weekly press conference with the media on Wednesday morning.  In that meeting, we heard the seemingly-weekly Roethlisberger catch-phrases; “I need to play better”, “…it starts with me”, and “…I just have to be better.”  It may just be me, but I feel like Steeler Nation has heard those same phrases repeated since Week 15 of the 2020 season.  So, this begs the question, what can we expect to see change to address the back-to-back poor offensive performances?  According to Roethlisberger, it goes back to what he was told in college where it begins with faster starts on offense:

“Traditionally, I’ve never really been a fast kind of start guy,” he explained. “My college coach, Coach Hoeppner, used to say the same thing. He would say we have to get you started faster in practices and games. I need to start faster.”

 

It was then in the press conference where the play-calling forecast got a bit bleak when Roethlisberger said:

“I know the coaches are doing a great job of scripting things, whether it’s screens or getting the ball out. Plays you really like. As an offense we need to start faster, but it starts with me. I need to get better with that because that’s kind of the key to a successful day, starting fast.”

 

 

Isn’t this what the offense was known for in 2020 under then-offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner?  Isn’t this exactly what fans are starting to get anxious about going into Week 4?  Roethlisberger said he needs to start getting more screens and quick passes going earlier in the game in order to be successful, but is this truly the solution?

Let’s take a look at some early-season numbers.  Yes, I understand only 3 games have been played, but that is enough to forecast a trend.  Through the first 3 games, Roethlisberger has thrown 83 completions out of 130 attempts for 801 yards.  That is an average of roughly 43 pass attempts per game.  If this trend maintains for the duration of the season, that’s about 737 total pass attempts in a 17-game season.  Understanding it was a 16-game season, the next-most attempts Roethlisberger threw was in 2018 with 675 attempts where he threw for a career-high 5,129 yards.  With that said however, here is a major detail; in 2018, Roethlisberger averaged 7.6 yards per attempt.  So far in 2021, he’s averaging 6.2 yards per attempt.  This is his lowest of his career, with the exception of his short 2019 season where he averaged 5.7 yards per attempt.  So, with a sputtering offense where the team’s running back is second in receiving yards, are short and quick passes the answer?  Of course, there is the argument and valid point that this is due to a weak offensive line.  But even in 2009, Roethlisberger took a career-high 50 sacks in the season and still maintained an average of 8.6 yards per attempt.

 

 

Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field is going to pose quite the challenge for that type of game plan.  Through the first 3 games, the Green Bay defense has allowed an average of 3 passing touchdowns per game while averaging 6.7 yards per attempt.  In Roethlisberger’s last 3 games against the Packers, he’s averaged 26 completions on 40 attempts for 340 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception.  This is where the game will be decided on Sunday.  The Steelers are going to need the offense to win the game and this involves Roethlisberger pushing the ball downfield.  At some point, Roethlisberger and company needs to open up the playbook and start airing the ball out beyond the first down markers.

When Roethlisberger says the offense starts with him and he needs to get better in order for the team to win, now is a better time than any to take that next step to winning.

 

What are you looking for in this week’s game preparation?  How do you think Roethlisberger will play against Green Bay?  Let us know in the comment section below!

#SteelerNation

Growing up in Pennsylvania, the Steelers played a major role in my life. I have watched every game since 2001 and have an entire closet solely dedicated to Steelers jerseys. You can find me on Twitter at @TheBenSauce_duh and Instragram at @benmic_alien. I now live in the Charlotte branch of Steeler Nation. I can't wait to share my passion for all things Steelers with you!

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