Now that the 2019 season is over, with a team other than ours having been crowned champion and there being much work to do to return to that status, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Stock Value: Up
Hey, here’s a glaringly obvious one. Stock up for Ben Roethlisberger. As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait until Tuesday to hear from Kevin Colbert about how the quarterback’s checkup earlier this month went. On the weekend, the team’s own Twitter account posted a four-second video of him throwing a football.
This was significant on multiple levels. First and foremost, the fact that he was throwing again in any capacity was the tentpole that we were anticipating at this time, so it demonstrates that his recovery continues to go, at worst, as planned.
But additionally, we were told to expect him to be doing ‘light throwing’, which means throwing tennis balls around. He was throwing an actual football. Apparently his checkup went well enough that his doctors felt he was prepared to skip a month of throwing tennis balls around and immediately work with, you know, the thing he’s paid tens of millions of dollars annually to throw.
In case you missed it, Roethlisberger suffered a significant elbow injury last season. While the specific nature of the injury, as well as the surgery that he had, have never been fully lain bare, it was significant enough that he only played six quarters before being shut down and placed on injured reserve.
A season in which Roethlisberger misses time due to injury is surely nothing new, but this was by far the most significant injury of his football career, and it more or less sabotaged the Steelers’ 2019 season, which saw the defense rise but the offense plummet without him.
Now that we have seen him throwing a football again, I assume there will be a wave of optimism about the Steelers heading into 2020, because most, rightfully I believe, assume the Steelers of 2019 could have been a great team had they simply had adequate play from the quarterback position.
I think Roethlisberger can at least aspire to adequate.