Prior to the Steelers’ Monday night victory over the San Diego Chargers, Ben Roethlisberger spent 20 good minutes throwing all kinds of pass routes to Martavis Bryant. If you listened to Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference last week, you’d notice that he wasn’t real thrilled about it.
My guess is that it had more to do with Bryant than it did Ben but we’ll likely never know but this is another story…
There’s a lot of debate so far this week about whether Ben Roethlisberger will play on Sunday when the Steelers take on the 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs. Big Ben said yesterday that he’s hoping to practice fully this week with the goal being that he can start the game. As we’ve seen with Ryan Shazier, Tomlin will need to see Roethlisberger be a full participant before he can let him play.
[Note: Mike Tomlin said today that they are expecting Landry Jones to start Sunday.]
Prior to Sunday’s win over Arizona, Roethlisberger went through a 45-minute workout that included heavy doses of dropbacks and rollouts. By all accounts he looked to 100% but only he and the team physicians know that for certain.
I certainly understand the argument that with Landry Jones’ solid performance on Sunday, he affords the Steelers one more week of rest for number seven. The problem for me is that next week is one of the most important early season games the Steelers have had in a long time when the Cincinnati Bengals come to town.
Should that be his first game back from this current injury, the numbers don’t bode well for him or the Steelers. SCB contributor Ben Anderson dug these up. In Roethlisberger’s first game back from an injury he’s 2-4 with eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He also averages just 191 yards passing in those games.
There are of course many factors such as who else may have been hurt on the offense and who the opponent was but taken as a whole, this shows that Roethlisberger clearly has rust to shake off. At 32 years old, I’m guessing Roethlisberger doesn’t exactly heal as quickly as he did at 26 and I get that. I also understand that this Chiefs’ team is desperate for a win and has a very good pass rush and typically plays well at home.
Those things add up to a recipe for disaster especially when you consider he would also have a new left tackle with Kelvin Beachum out for the season. I’m looking at it like this; How much can we really expect from Landry Jones in his first start? Yes, his debut was great but this will be a different monster in KC.
In terms of the Bengals who are off this week, a loss to them would be a huge setback in terms of winning the division. We already have a division loss (to Baltimore) and with the exception of trips to Arizona and Denver, their schedule isn’t difficult.
History definitely suggests we need Roethlisberger to play this week but is it the right move? We are about to find out.