By: Jonathan Clark
For a team to be successful, getting into a rhythm is one of the most important aspects of the game. For years, offense was never an issue for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it seems like that ever since Ben Roethlisberger took over as the starting quarterback all the way back in 2004.
Roethlisberger has a unique style of play, which was referred to as “backyard football“. He has the stereotypical build for a franchise QB, but the style in which he plays is something that not many can pull off. Obviously that has led to a winning culture, and we’ve captured two Super Bowl Championships over the span of 17 seasons, preserving a winning culture that was originally built back in the 70’s and 80’s.
This style of play is the reason for the coveted nickname that has followed Roethlisberger almost all of his career, “Big Ben”. If the pocket was collapsing, Roethlisberger would escape the pocket buying more time, allowing for his receivers to create space in the open field. He pretty much made a career out of playing this way, and helped shape many WR’s careers. Taking nothing away from Roethlisberger, we have had a plethora of talent on the offensive side of the ball and for much of Roethlisberger’s ladder years throughout the 2010’s, the offensive side of the ball carried this team.
Big Ben Roethlisberger is a different player now then he was then. During this season, it was reported that there were some issues going on with Roethlisberger’s knees, which he quickly debunked. Nevertheless, the worry was there and you could tell in his performance that it was at least on his mind. Due to which must be age, the Steelers offensive playbook has looked completely different now then it did years ago. The singular focus seemed to be to preserve Roethlisberger’s health, beneficial to the player yes, but to the team. I’m not completely sold.
He is the face of our franchise and has been for many years. We built our team around him and have been successful in doing so. That can cause organizations to fear change, but it looks like this is the season for change in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have let go of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, meaning change is on the way. The candidate list has not been updated yet, but it is safe to say that Pittsburgh is looking to go in a different direction offensively. This in itself could mean that we might be going away from the short passing game and developing the medium/long passing game that was nonexistent during the 2020 season — allowing for a more balanced offense in 2021.
That could mean, letting “Ben be Ben” as we all said throughout the season. Why not find a coordinator who shares the same belief? Now I know Roethlisberger might not be as mobile or agile as he once was, that just dwindles with age, but he did give us some glimpses that he still has some left in the tank. In my opinion, he needs to be paired with an offensive coordinator who has more of an open mind regarding the way to utilize Roethlisberger.
The quarterback position is changing and so are the offensive minds that come with them. The game doesn’t require a stand still QB who averages 5 yards a pass. The game is evolving to more big plays and balancing the rushing attack with the passing attack. Not substituting the short passing game for the rushing game, which is what Fichtner was fixated on.
Roethlisberger’s health is important for the team’s success if he decides to return to the Steelers for what we think would be his last season. It would be good to pair him with an offensive mind who puts the success of the team first, in route to bring a Lombardi trophy back to the ‘Burgh.
Times are changing in Pittsburgh and I am not against it. I think change is good, especially because what we have been doing the past couple of years has not been working, but not for a lack of play-makers on the field. We aren’t even sure if Roethlisberger will be back next year, but if he does decide to return, he should be paired with a great offensive mind, not just something we are comfortable with. Who becomes the Steelers new offensive coordinator should have a lot to do with if Ben Roethlisberger returns for the 2021 season or calls it a career.
Who do you think should be the new OC? Comment below!