Following the preseason opener against the New York Giants, I posted the pass distances of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In that game, Roethlisberger’s average pass length of the seven passes he threw was 5.57 yards as the offense was clearly working on the shorter passing game.
In the game Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger was allowed to go vertical a lot more. Of his 19 passes thrown, seven of them were traveled 16 or more yards past the line of scrimmage. In fact, his average distance in that game wound up being 10.79 yards.
This is certainly a good sign and as I pointed out earlier on Wednesday, Roethlisberger was especially great in the game when using play action.
Last season the offense was labeled as being a dink and dunk one and it was obvious that offensive coordinator Todd Haley needed to add more vertical elements to it this season. While it is hard to draw any conclusions from one meaningless preseason game, it’s hard to imagine that Roethlisberger won’t be allowed to push the ball up the field more in 2013 much in the same way he was allowed to do under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
I am not suggesting that the offense will be as wide open as Arians’ was, but at least the depth of the routes and the combinations used against the Chiefs gives us some hope that Roethlisberger will be able to go a little more vertical than he did last season.