Madden: Steelers Wasting BIg Ben
Madden: Steelers wasting Big Ben
Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2013 11:45 pm
By Mark Madden Times Sports Correspondent
Once upon a time, Ben Roethlisberger was a top five NFL quarterback.
He could be again, given chance.
That chance does not appear imminent.
The NFL has gone vertical. Quick strike, get the ball back, score again. Despite finishing a lowly 21st in the league in offense last season, the Steelers have decided to keep going against that grain. Instead of utilizing their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to a more prominent degree, the Steelers have instituted a new run-blocking scheme and will ask a rookie back to exploit it.
Last year, the Steelers finished second in the NFL when it comes to average time of possession. They finished 8-8 when it comes to winning games, proving that controlling the ball no longer means much. Using it to score does.
Just so the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback doesn’t get any crazy ideas, they let receiver Mike Wallace walk. Run, rather. The speedy Wallace is one of football’s few legit deep threats. Now the Steelers don’t have one.
Max Starks was the left tackle last season. He allowed just three sacks and took just three penalties. But the Steelers let him walk, too. Didn’t figure he’d be nimble enough to run-block for Franco and Rocky. Uh, I mean, for Le’Veon Bell. The remaining tackles keep switching from side to side. Not a good sign.
The game plan is designed to protect the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Quick release. Dink and dunk, I’ve heard it called. Except the two-time Super Bowl winning-quarterback got hurt anyway. Missed three games.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback was having a big year before he got hurt. Statistically, anyway. Making plays? Inventing solutions? The stuff the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback used to do? You don’t need that crap when you got a commitment to Steelers tradition and the genius of Todd Haley. Roethlisberger's genius is fodder for criticism: He holds onto the ball too long.
The Steelers missed the playoffs. As they contemplate a way back, expanding the duties of the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback isn’t an option.
Roethlisberger’s job is to bail out the Steelers when they need it. He isn’t asked to do much, except when he’s asked to do too much. If the Steelers trail in the second half, he’s called upon to perform a miracle. To launch a comeback.
If he fails, he’s that much easier to blame.
Roethlisberger’s last contract got him $102 million. Right now, he’s not worth that kind of money. That’s not his fault. He’s not allowed to be.
Roethlisberger is the most underutilized superstar in professional sports.
Anybody know why?
Outdated tradition posing as unique style is part of it. The Steelers are “That ‘70s Show.” They stick as close as possible to the original blueprint.
But that original blueprint included Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s arm took over when the defense faltered in the late ‘70s. The Steelers had no choice.
Do they have a choice now?
Maybe the Steelers have never really forgiven Roethlisberger for Lake Tahoe and Milledgeville. Maybe they don’t want a player to be bigger than the team. The logo. The Rooney family. If those reasons sound ridiculous, come up with a good one. Why do the Steelers refuse to maximize Roethlisberger?
Roethlisberger gets the most money. He’s got the most talent. He plays the most important position. But he isn’t used in a corresponding manner.
After a rocky start, Roethlisberger says he has a good relationship with Haley. That’s too bad. For the sake of the Steelers, Roethlisberger needs to lose his cool. He needs to blow up and make it clear that this way is not the right way.
Most NFL experts feel the Steelers are on the precipice of a bad season. We should be talking about what Roethlisberger might be able to do to save them.
Instead, we’re talking about outside zone blocking.
I could not agree more. I mean I would be fine with having Ben throw the ball 425 times or so a year IF we still had a dominent running game and Defense. But we don't, at least I don't think we do. And when I see a player like Ben with his great size, strength, throwing arm and agility ONLY Throwing the ball over 500 times TWICE in his career, once in 2011 and in 2009, and in both cases it was BARELY 500 times. And then I see QB's way way less talented then Ben getting 650 to 700 + attempts a season for MULTIPLE seasons, and it makes me sick. If this is the way we're gonna use Ben this year, then really, I would rather trade him when we can get something for him, rather then have his agent ask for a NEW 5 to 6 year deal for well over 100 million dollars. Cause if we are just gonna have ANOTHER..."Game Manager" typee of QB, then lets go get another Neil O'Donnell. I mean really, is 576 pass attempts a season really gonna hurt Ben ?...that's 36 per game.
In a league where Brady, Manning, Ely Manning, Romo, Stafford, Brees, and others get WELL over 45 attempts a game for a season, is utilizing Ben for 36 pass attempts a game all that bad ? If we are gonna go to a quick strike, dink & dunk passing game, is 24 attempts a game really going to cut it ?
I don't think so!!
Madden is an idiot. He is a bad act that just keeps turning up looking for any opportunity to rip the Steelers in order to try to separate himself from local media. Note how he never has first person quotes anyone with the team because they won't talk to the idiot.
Those QBs you cite have OLs that can actually protect the QB.
Originally Posted by sedatedsteelerfan
Stafford was sacked on a greater percentage then Ben was last season. Brees has been sacked 50 + times, and once 64 times in past seasons, once while winning the Super Bowl. Romo sacked 51 times last season. So No, you are wrong. I know Brady, and Manning have had low sacked numbers. But that is mostly cause their teams offensive schemes allow the QB for a quick read or safety valve pass IF the defense brings quick pressure. And if that is what we are doing now with Halely, have quicker, shorter routes, and have a safety valve receiver like or RB or FB, then I see no reason to fear a great amount of sacks. Therefor, no reason to NOT allow Ben to pass 600 + times. Even with our current O-Line.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
I agree with this... I know people hated Arians but his style worked with Ben. Sure, we had some scoring issues every season for a few games but they always turned it on down the stretch. The whole "Arians will get Ben killed" was hilarious because it wqs obvious Ben preferred that style and we have hardware and highlights to prove it. Oh well.... dink and dunk it to the playoffs.
One thing though... I saw Max get Rivers killed vs Chicago. It was the type of hit that could end a season.
I agree our O-Line has had issues for sure. But you can't compare Rivers to Ben. Ben is a FREAK Athlete. I remember Suggs for Baltimore 4 years ago saying, he has never even come close to seeing a QB with Bens strength. That is why Suggs said, the thing defenses WANT to do is keep Ben in the pocket. Cause if he gets outside the Tackles, or gets on the run, Suggs said he is next to Impossible to bring down, and throws better in those situations. As where Rives is a Girly-man, no strngth, or at least not compared to Ben.
The Arians offense was fine in between the 20's. My big beef with Arians was redzone play calling. Too many FGs when there should have been TDs. Had there been more TDs to go along with all those downfield passing yards, I don't think the Steelers would have been able to let him go, even if there were philosophical differences.
Originally Posted by feltdizz
And Madden is right about time of possession - it really isn't that important of a stat.
Hall of Famer
If Haley's system is so bad for Ben why was his name being mentioned for MVP before he got hurt last year?
I think thr red zone struggles are mostly on Ben... getting into the endzone inside the 20 has always been an issue.
Originally Posted by Captain QB