ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sunday morning that new daddy and recovering rib injured Ben Roethlisberger will start light tossing this week and could be ready to go in Baltimore next Sunday. So the question is, assuming he’s healthy should he play or shouldn’t he?
Of course we’re all going to say that, yes if Ben is healthy he should play, but that term “healthy” isn’t always what it seems. In this case though the Steelers would be better served to take it in its literal sense rather than football sense, when it comes to the serious injury that Roethlisberger sustained.
The signs have been encouraging for Ben this week as he was able to lose the sling and move his arm much better than he could since getting injured against Kansas City. He will probably be categorized as Questionable by Mike Tomlin this week, however coming back against the Ravens on the road isn’t exactly a best case scenario in terms of potentially staying healthy.
Baltimore already beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh and with the opportunity to all but close the door on any hopes the Steelers still have of winning the division; well, they’ll be out for blood. That’s nothing different than any other time these teams play but still, they won’t hesitate to take a cheap shot at Big Ben if they get the chance.
Saying that Baltimore could take a cheap shot at Ben isn’t just some cliche`, it’s just the way it is with these two teams. Familiarity breeds contempt, and certainly there is plenty of that in Steelers vs Ravens…but I digress.
If Ben doesn’t play, either Charlie Batch or Byron Leftwich will man the helm of the Steelers ship; and God forbid if Brian Hoyer has to play. Nothing against Hoyer, but the man just got here this week. Even if he is a quick study, coming from New England previously, it’s a tall order to ask.
That game will be a must win if the Steelers have any hopes of taking the division late in the year and obviously having Ben back gives them the best chance to win. However, it would seem likely that regardless of any smoke screens the team tries to put up, that Ben has a better chance of returning against the Chargers at home in 2 weeks.
As much as I hate the Ravens, and trust me saying that is an understatement, Ben’s long term health is more important and I’d rather see him come back at Heinz Field in 2 weeks, if he’s ready.