Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, 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
Reasoning: Earlier this week, Roethlisberger confirmed that he had three tendons reattached in his throwing elbow, revealing that he has felt great despite throwing a good deal. He also told reporters that he feels as though he can play beyond his current contract, which runs through next season.
Ever since Roethlisberger had surgery to repair his injured elbow about 10 months ago, I think about the only negative report that we have ever heard was when people were foolishly complaining that he did not travel with the team for a road game in Los Angeles that occurred shortly after he underwent surgery.
Literally everything else pertaining to his recovery, as far as meaningful reports and updates go, has been positive, and that has not changed since training camp opened. In fact, Roethlisberger almost seemed to echo the hopes of general manager Kevin Colbert from earlier this offseason, who said that it wasn’t unreasonable to believe that he could be stronger in 2020 than he has been recently after having time off and repairing a long-standing injury.
Also of note is the fact the Roethlisberger has talked about the amount of work that he has done on his own this offseason, particularly bringing teammates into his own home for the purpose of working out. He said, for example, that Eric Ebron had stayed at his house for a time in order to help build their rapport, since they have never worked together before, except perhaps at the Pro Bowl.
The Steelers learned the hard way that their offense does not paint a pretty picture without the big man under center, at least with the level of play that was provided them from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges last season. While they are optimistic, or at least hopeful, of improvement from their reserves, they know the season really rides on Roethlisberger’s shoulders—and his elbow. And so far, everything is looking good. Perhaps almost no worse for wear.