Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass as offensive tackle Mike Adams (76) blocks for him against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
It’s time for the last preseason game! I probably won’t get to watch this one either, but I’ll either find a way to listen to it or follow on the internet. The digital world has made it much easier for the displaced Steeler fan who doesn’t have a satellite provider. Here are a few articles to get you in the mood for the game whether you follow preseason or not.
Steelers Kick-Off Luncheon
Teresa Varley, of Steelers.com, posted a summary of the kick-off luncheon that the Steelers hold for the fans who get player introductions and a chance to here several players speak. There were also a few alumni signing autographs. Tomlin made it clear that he understands how passionate Steeler nation is:
"I appreciate Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Steelers Nation. Not only do you inspire us, but you are the heartbeat of us. Hopefully we are the same for you.”"
I don’t know if other teams hold this kind of event for fans, but if I ever get a chance to go to one of these, I won’t pass it up easily.
Roethlisberger’s Tough to Rank
Jaimeson Hensley, who blogs about the AFC North for ESPN, put together one of the better pieces I’ve seen about how difficult it is to rank Roethlisberger among other quarterbacks:
"The toughest player for me to grade was Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. His No. 24 ranking should come with an asterisk, or perhaps a question mark. When Roethlisberger is healthy, he’s a top-five quarterback. When he’s not, he plays like a bottom-five quarterback.”"
Hensley goes on to address many of the things that Steelers fans consider when they consider Roethlisberger’s ranking. Ben’s tough and fights to get back in the game, but rarely is at 100% once’s he’s had an injury. He doesn’t get minor cuts and bruises and he gets too far out of the pocket many times and doesn’t get any protection. He can’t see the hit coming or he just takes it so he can deliver the ball. If he stays healthy, Roethlisberger’s ranking will go up. If he doesn’t, well, you know.
CBS Sports.com’s Jason LaCanfora contributes his predictions about the Steelers season. As Steeler fans know, everything still hinges on Roethlisberger staying healthy. If you think this isn’t a quarterback-driven league, you might want to review some of the more recent games – like the last 5 years worth to start with. LaCanfora thinks the defense has question marks, particularly in the secondary. We all know THAT hinges on Polamalu’s health. I’d say the same thing that goes for Ben – if Troy isn’t healthy, the Steelers aren’t the same. LaCanfora thinks the Steelers will be 11-5, which is better than ESPN’s 9-7. I think it may be a bit generous, but I will say that it hinges on a lot of conditions.
Ben Says the Steelers Are Working on Things in Preseason
Will Graves, of the Associated Press, has a quote from Ben that he isn’t worried about whether the Steelers win or lose the game against Carolina. Roethlisberger hints there is a bigger goal. Graves digs up some old stats that the Steelers have not done well when they have lost all four exhibition games. He says that the only position battle up for grabs is at punter – Butler versus Moorman – but questions remain at wide receiver and linebacker. He catches a classic Tomlin quote:
"I think the ones that distinguish themselves will be the ones that show an aptitude for playmaking and understand the football in that phase.”"
Yeah, I had to giggle. So, you’re saying that if they play well, they will distinguish themselves? Thanks. Anyway, Graves article is interesting but not earth-shattering. It’s hard to find anything earth-shattering to talk about as the preseason winds down.
Today’s tweet is a picture from the kick-off luncheon. Lot’s of players and staff there!
That’s it for today. Let us know what you think!