Ben Roethlisberger continues to see more turf than open receivers as the team continues its spiral of being winless. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
If you were slammed into the turf eight gajillion times during a football game, you would probably not think very highly of the state of your own offensive line or offense for that matter. If your teammates on the other side of the ball failed to get consistent pressure, collapse the pocket, get sacks, cause turnovers, and give up big plays, then you would probably not think very highly of the state of your team’s defense. If your team was ill prepared week in and week out to face the other team, then you probably not think highly of your coaching staff. In Ben Roethlisberger’s case, he is experiencing the trifecta and decided to voice his frustration after the 34-27 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in London.
"We are in unchartered [sic] territories and the water is dangerous right now, so we have to stick together and get out of it. Right now, you could say we’re the worst team in the league. That hurts. – Ben Roethlisberger, 9/30/2013"
Check the comments section on most Steelers related articles or the Twitter-sphere, and many in Steeler Nation are already unhappy with the leader of the offense and the self declared leader of this football team. Many feel that he is as ill prepared as the rest of the team. He’s having ball security issues. He’s lost that magic for making big plays while scrambling. He’s washed up, a bum. The team needs to dump him – not because of his high value but because he’s a cancer to the team. And yes, somehow even his past is coming back to haunt him these days (that one’s a head scratch’er). I’m sure when (or if) these same yinzers caught wind of the statement above, they would be calling for his head to be flown from the flag masts above the video board at Heinz Field.
Well let me throw a bucket of cold water on your fuming face and say that Ben is absolutely right. Wake up. This team hasn’t been 0-4 to start the season in over 45 years. The team has experienced quite a fall from grace over the last three seasons. The Steelers were dominant and feared throughout most of the 90’s and certainly over the last decade. They’ve gone from Super Bowl contenders to first round playoff losers to missing the playoffs to 0-4 in the first four weeks of the season. At this rate a meteor will crash into Heinz Field and the team will be forced to move Jacksonville, FL after the Jags just moved to L.A. in 2016.
Speaking of those lowly Jaguars…. Could the Steelers really be worse than those guys? Or what about the other two teams (Giants and Bucs) that are also 0-4? The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer is in most ways yes. The Steelers are so awful at this point that there is very little hope in salvaging any positives from this season – and we are just four weeks in! The Giants have a chance to turn things around, and have a history of doing so. The Bucs have some new life with the Freeman being replaced at QB. The Jags, though crushed by two of the better teams in the NFL, can only go up from where they’ve been. At least the Steelers know that the local tv stations won’t be apologizing for having to broadcast their games…. although they should be at this point. Ok, so maybe the Jags are worse from a statistical standpoint – almost dead last in all categories except for pass defense. But the simple spiral of the Steelers has put them at the bottom of the heap. They let Matt Cassel throw for 300+ yards on them for God’s sake!
In just a few short months this team went from an 8-8 record with some promise of becoming better to a team that was not able to boost the talent by replacing veterans currently or formerly on the team with better players, bringing in poor coaching replacements, and seemingly learning nothing from the last two seasons. Where to even start on getting this team better? Fingers are pointed in so many different directions I feel like Alice in the forest in Alice in Wonderland and Mike Tomlin is the nonsensical Mad Hatter.
The team is bad. Real bad. It’s time to swallow that pill and pride just a little and accept that fact. Oh yes, we will cheer and love our Steelers just the same. But, don’t lynch Big Ben just yet. He’s dead on right: This team is bad. NFL worst, bad. Hell, calling out the team like that might even be seen as a good move as being team leader. At least he’s not hiding behind the veil. Sure hope the Steelers don’t lose Jake Matthew’s number during the 2014 draft next year when they get one of the top three picks. I’m sure Big Ben wouldn’t mind the addition. Maybe his sack total will fall from gajillion to bajillion.