There are who for whom Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can do no wrong. There are those for whom he can do no right. No matter what, however, we do know that everything he does or does not do will be hyperscrutinized, as was the case when he didn’t travel with the team shortly after having elbow surgery two weeks ago on a transnational flight.
But he has been there for the home games since his surgery, and the Steelers have just begun a three-game homestand, so hopefully we don’t have to hear about that particular issue for a while. And while he is on the sidelines, the broadcasts show him visibly engaged and involved with the team, both as a motivator and as an instructor.
Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph are going to be tied for a number of reasons. Rudolph was drafted because the Steelers thought he could possibly start for the franchise in the future. After he was drafted, Roethlisberger was critical of the team’s decision to draft two quarterbacks in a row and passing up other positions that could help right away. He even joked that he wouldn’t help Rudolph—and it was clearly a joke.
Since taking a back seat following his elbow injury, however, Roethlisberger has been surprisingly of benefit to Rudolph, according to the young quarterback. Following his first game back from a concussion, and his second win in four starts, he was asked about the role the veteran quarterback has played and if he has been helpful.
“For sure. He’s been more helpful than I really thought”, he said. “It’s such a tough situation having your season taken from you like that, but he’s been great giving input at halftime, he’s been up at the whiteboard at times drawing stuff out, so he’s been awesome in that regard”.
You might even recall that back in Week Five in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens, Roethlisberger tried to will a loose ball out of bounds so that the Steelers would retain possession. Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way.
But the point is, there is no grounds for anybody to make the argument that the 16-year veteran has checked out in any way just because he’s not playing. He is as much a part of this team as he has ever been, and is finding ways to contribute and be useful.
Right now, the best way to do that is to avail himself to the young quarterbacks, offer input where he feels it beneficial, and otherwise allow them to learn, and for them to approach him when they need it. Being approachable—something he’s been accused of not being in the past—has been crucial in the relationship of the quarterback room.