The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play much better than he has in the past several weeks.
Explanation: In spite of the way that it might feel at this point with the recent stretch of games, Ben Roethlisberger did not enter this season looking like hot garbage. He might not hit every single throw that he may have hit a few years ago, but he had shown that he is entirely capable of playing a very good game. He hasn’t really done that in the past four or five weeks.
Buy: It’s unimaginable that he is going to have another game, or at least another half, like he did against the Cincinnati Bengals, so that is a pretty low bar to clear. And we’re not necessarily talking about MVP play, though it wasn’t so long ago that we were talking about him possibly being a snub in the race for the MVP.
Why am I optimistic that things will get better this week? Because I think his skill players will be better this week. Diontae Johnson got his feet and his hands and his brain back under him in the last game after weeks of struggling with drops. Chase Claypool got another big play or two under his belt. They are ready to roll.
But you know who else is ready to roll? The Indianapolis Colts defense, which has allowed only 17 passing touchdowns all season, a top-five mark in the league, and which only has two fewer interceptions than do the Steelers, who lead the league with 17.
There’s also the fact that there is a different excuse every week that isn’t coming up with the answers. Most recently, it was the scheduling. Last week, they had an extra day and a normal schedule that wasn’t changed, and they stunk up the bed. Now they’re on a short week after playing on Monday night. How is it going to be any better?