The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
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: How many games will Ben Roethlisberger play in during the 2020 season?
I’m not sure there is a more significant question relating to the Steelers’ success this year than the one posed above: how many games will they get out of Ben Roethlisberger? Because if he’s playing, he’s healthy, and presumably, his being on the field gives them their best chance to win games.
But the 17th-year veteran is coming off of elbow surgery. While all reports have indicated that he is at least on-schedule in his recovery, or even ahead of schedule, the reality is that we won’t know how well his arm will hold up until he’s out on the field throwing 30 passes a game and swatting off defensive ends.
Even under the best of circumstances, he has still been liable to miss a game or two due to injury, even if, prior to last season, his health had been largely intact, or at least well enough to play through injuries that he had suffered along the way.
In fact, between 2013 and 2018, Roethlisberger had only one season in which he missed more than one game due to injury (he missed others because they were resting him in the finale). An ankle injury against the Dolphins in 2016 cost him one game.
If the Steelers should be without Roethlisberger, they figure to move on with some combination of Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, and Paxton Lynch, all of whom return from last season’s roster, and all of whom have, to date, had relatively unsuccessful careers.