Opinions are pretty much all over the place when it comes to how people expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to perform, and perhaps that shouldn’t be much of a surprise given the number of significant changes that have taken place this offseason. While they were able to get Devin Bush in the draft, they also parted with Antonio Brown in the offseason, for example, and there’s no formula to determine how that shakes out as a net benefit or loss.
Opinions also vary pretty significantly when it comes to how people expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to perform. While he threw for over 5000 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, both career highs and franchise records, he also threw 16 interceptions and saw a higher frequency of poor decisions with the ball overall. He also won’t have the most important player to him over the past decade this year.
But others believe the very fact that he won’t have Brown, and the fact that he has been questioned extensively this offseason, down to his leadership ability and willingness to be a good teammate, will serve as the impetus to motivate him to have a career year.
This is a rather unsophisticated take and certainly one without advanced statistical support, but it is also a popular opinion in the locker room, which Steelers cornerback Joe Haden recently shared during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, while he was answering a question about the loss of Brown.
Losing two dudes like that that are that great of players, I don’t see how you could say you got that much better. But I think that guys just gotta step up. There’s always the next man up. I think Ben is definitely motivated to come out here with people talking about how his window’s closing and all that. He’s a great quarterback, Hall of Fame quarterback, Super Bowl champ, and I think he’s gonna just be super motivated to get the job done. Our offensive line is amazing. We got James [Conner] that’s coming into his own, JuJu [Smith-Schuster] coming into his own. James Washington now. Just younger receivers that are gonna be able to come, step up, and I think it’s just gonna be the ball just spread around to a lot of guys.
While his answer touched on a few different threads, the central focus was the idea that Roethlisberger is going to be driven to will his team to success to a degree beyond which it was previously. I personally don’t think he has ever lacked for competitive drive, but I’m certainly not going to complain if he comes out and has the best season of his career.