The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Is Ben Roethlisberger dealing with a more serious elbow injury than it seemed?
Ben Roethlisberger looked rough in the season opener, clearly still knocking off rust that he pretty much admitted himself was remaining from the preseason, but it wasn’t until the end of that game that he suffered an injured elbow on a strip sack.
He went on to throw six touchdowns to one interception and a couple heaps of yardage over the next two weeks—one in a victory, the other in a defeat—but there were still curious signs throughout the games. His deep ball inaccuracy would certainly not be helped by an injured elbow.
What really caught my attention on Sunday, however, was the fact that he lost the football out of his hand multiple times. He dropped it twice on pump fakes and a couple of other passes seemed to get away from him in a way that suggested that it was released earlier than he wanted it to.
One thing we can pretty much bet on is that he’s going to be getting his veteran days off. Even if he’s not dealing with a sore elbow, he’s throwing the ball at a crazy pace through the early portions of the season, especially over the past three weeks.
And whether or not his elbow is an issue, that would still come up short of providing an explanation for every issue he’s had so far this year, including decision-making. He has still continued to make some fantastic throws—see the late pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster in Tampa—but he hasn’t shown the snap to snap consistency that the team needs from him.