PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — In a quarterback-driven league, one might think a team with a two-time Super Bowl champion would have hope, but one CBS Sports NFL insider thinks the Steelers’ signal-caller is one of the chief reasons they’ve looked hopeless through three games.
Ryan Wilson, a contributor to the “Eye On Football” CBS Sports blog, put Big Ben on blast in his weekly “Coach Killers” feature, breaking down his turnover-plagued performance in a 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday night.
“The knee-jerk reactionaries will blame offensive coordinator Todd Haley. And revisionist historians will point to those halcyon days when Haley’s predecessor Bruce Arians had Ben Roethlisberger maximizing his talents in an explosive downfield passing offense,” Wilson writes. “Of course, these folks conveniently leave out the part where Arians’ offense routinely set Roethlisberger up to take a beating, or that Haley had a lot of success to begin the 2012 season.”
Wilson points out how Ben’s Week 3 counterpart, Jay Cutler, has improved Chicago’s offense by hastening his delivery.
Meanwhile, the Steelers still haven’t found any balance at all, ranking next to last in the league with 51.7 rushing yards per game entering an unconventional Week 4 contest with the Minnesota Vikings at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Plus, despite ranking fifth in the NFL in total defense, the team is an un-Steeler-like minus-9 in the turnover department, echoing issues from last season.
To wit, Wilson does exempt Roethlisberger from some criticism.
“The good news: He’s the least of this team’s worries. Big Ben has had bad games before, and he almost always bounces back with a solid performance,” he writes. “That won’t magically fix a season that’s teetering on disaster; the offense line is still a train wreck, the running game is a joke, and the defense can’t be expected to play 40 minutes a game and hold opponents to 10 points.”
Click here to read the full post by Wilson.
Furthermore, questions of a divide in the locker room surfaced during Roethlisberger’s weekly appearance on “Vinnie & Cook” (weekdays 10:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M. on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan), noting that makeshift signs barring younger players from using game tables were spotted last week.
Although he downplayed those questions, he did take something of a shot at one younger guy in particular: rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, who is expected to make his regular-season debut after recovering from a midfoot sprain.
“You can’t get a read on him. One day he’s practicing, one day he’s not. One day he’s going hard, one day he’s not. I wish I could [tell you] if he was a guy like Heath Miller who you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday.
We’ll find out soon enough if the refrain from the veterans about the rookies needing a fire lit under them holds true.
Kickoff between the winless Steelers and Vikings can be seen at 1:00 P.M. Sunday on KDKA-TV.