2016 South Side Questions: Is Big Ben Right Saying Not To Panic?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Should fans trust Ben Roethlisberger when he tells them not to panic?

This is a pretty straightforward question, and I expect that most fans already have an answer worked out for themselves, but if there is a ‘real’ answer to this question—and I don’t know that there is—then it is a bit more complicated than that.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently spoke to reporters and in so many words expressed his belief that the Steelers are not in as bad shape as they appear to be, even if they have lost three consecutive games following a 4-1 start, and with the 7-1 Cowboys coming to town next.

Considering the fact that the defense only allowed 13 points on Sunday, and that a lot of their offensive woes were tied to the performance of the quarterback position, which is an inevitability to improve—even if it takes more than one game—I do think there is a legitimate argument to make to tell people to pump the breaks on the panic meter.

While four losses halfway through the season is certainly not where the Steelers wanted or expected to be, and the division loss to the Ravens was certainly a gut punch and a wake-up call, one could argue that a lot of their bumps in the road are behind them now, especially in terms of injury hurdles that they have since climbed over.

They even potentially have Ladarius Green and Bud Dupree working their way back in a couple of weeks that will provide very much-needed boosts to their respective positions at tight end and outside linebacker, and which would help further insulate them against injury.

And yet there is the question of whether or not there is even enough for them to get back yet that would raise them up to the level of contender, because, if we are being honest, they have not looked like a team who is prepared to be a contender in about a month.

But they win big, and they also lose big, or so it has gone so far this season. Which is the closer approximation to the truth? I think this more than anything is the cause for the unease around this team, and why it is unclear as to whether or not ‘panic’ is justified.

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