Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger's Return Will Alter The Steelers
Not. So. Fast.
For all the talk that the Steelers are 2-0 and looking like they are in great shape, a realist has to look at this team as what it really is.
Not because they are 2-0. They won BOTH of those games on the strength of their defense. Their offense? To say that it has looked pathetic would be an understatement.
The offense has scored a TOTAL of one touchdown. In two games. It came on an overtime run, in which everyone thought the Steelers were going to pass.
The defenses of the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans both played against the Steelers EXACTLY as they needed to. Line up everyone in the box, and force the Steelers to throw the ball. Unfortunately for the Falcons and Titans, the defense played well enough that their efforts were for nothing.
Dennis Dixon, who I believe was the best available option for the Steelers, is done. With a knee injury, he is not going to be healthy before Roethlisberger returns, which means, barring injury, his season is over.
Charlie Batch has been a serviceable back up, but let's be honest, he is not a starting-caliber QB in the NFL. He proved that against the Titans when Dixon was injured.
Byron Leftwich is injured himself, and may not even be ready to play against the Bucs. I know that Mike Tomlin has already chosen Batch to start against Tampa, but Leftwich is not starting because he is still too injured to do so.
The Steelers made a lot of moves this offseason, with MANY people questioning their intelligence over them.
Traded Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a Fifth-Round Pick?
A fifth-round pick for a player that is a Super Bowl MVP? Really? Turns out, that pick was used to trade for Bryant McFadden. Though people that don't understand the game would say that McFadden was torched against the Falcons, I say to you: Understand the game before you speak.
Yes, Roddy White had 13 catches for 111 yards, but he was targeted 26 times during the game. That means that half of the attempts were incomplete passes. And if you break it down, 13 incomplete are as good as shutting down four drives by himself.
Bringing Back Larry Foote?
Yes, bringing Larry Foote back brings a level of depth at the ILB position that most teams only dream about. It will allow the Steelers to use their new, young LB trio of Worilds, Gibson, and Sylvester a chance to learn with out having to play on anything but Special Teams.
Drafting an Offensive Lineman in the First Round?
Drafting a center with your team's first-round pick is a risky proposition. There has only been one center drafted in the first round this decade, Alex Mac of the Browns. For the Steelers to select Maurkice Pouncey shows they were trying to solidify a position they have not been settled in for years.
Pouncey has earned the starting position for the Steelers at the position they drafted him to play. He has become an ANIMAL for the offense, and is currently the best lineman on the team.
When Ben Roethlisberger's suspension ends, this Steelers team will have even a different look than they have right now.
No longer will teams be putting eight men in the box on every down. If they try, Roethlisberger will throw for Peyton Manning-type numbers. If you are going to blitz Big Ben, you are going to have trouble.
That means the Steelers ground game will be more successful because linebackers and safeties are going to have to play the pass, which will open up for more running lanes. In doing that, it will also open up a different dimension with play-action passes.
As soft as the Steelers offense is, once Roethlisberger is back we will get to see the explosive speed of Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Anthonio Brown. Once these young players can actually use their speed, they can all be dangerous.
There will also be a LOT less three-and-outs on offense. Roethlisberger has a way of sustaining drives, and that will return when he does. That means less time for the defense to be on the field. And less time the other team has the ball.
With the Steelers MANY turnovers against the Titans, because of the lack of offense, mainly the Steelers had to get points off of Jeff Reed's toe. Once Roethlisberger comes back, if they convert 50 percent of turnovers into TD's, that will mean 28 points, or 14 per game.
I do have to say that I am VERY excited about the Steelers, and the way the defense is playing. But, I have to be realistic. The offense scares me. I will, however, not be scared when Ben Roethlisberger's suspension ends, but most fans of the other teams should be.
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