Max Starks spent a lot of time protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side while with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was one of the quarterback’s closest friends while they were teammates, and I imagine that they remain close even long after Starks has retired. Watching him play after returning from surgery, he shared his thoughts on Roethlisberger’s 2020 season and the amount of throwing he’s done, and his recent performances, on the Zach Gelb show.
It is a sign of age, and when you’re third in the league in average pass attempts, and it’s not because you’re behind, more often than not, I think that’s where the issue is. You can’t throw it that many times. You have to be in the 30s, mid- to low-30s with an efficient running attack to make that passing game go. But when you ask him to do that, I don’t think any quarterback over the age of 35 is going to be able to give you that game in and game out and is going to be looking electric from week one to week 17.
I don’t think it’s necessarily a knock on his age, but at the same time it’s also uncharacteristic to ask a guy to throw that many times a game in any situation for any winning ball club. You’ve got to have the balance, and they don’t have the balance right now.
Starks was also asked about how much longer he feels that Roethlisberger is capable of playing. This season, he has attempted 559 passes, on track for over 600 again, completing 365 for 3462 yards. He has thrown 30 touchdowns (just the fourth time in his career he has done that) to 10 touchdowns (the second-fewest he has had in a season in which he has played more than 12 games).
“Ben can play as long as he wants. That’s the biggest thing. He can play as long as he wants. Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, they’ve all shown you the recipe that they can play into the age of 40, but for him, I think he wants that other Super Bowl”, Starks said. “He wants another Super Bowl, and that’s what he’s chasing. He feels like he has the team now, so I don’t think you give up on it when the team is ready-made to play and build and win a Super Bowl. It’s when you get into the rebuild that I think you have to think about when is your time up, or if I’m gonna switch locales”.
Roethlisberger has gone on record in saying that he wants to win just not one more Super Bowl, but multiple Super Bowls, and in fact he was pretty emphatic in making it clear that he is talking about winning more than one more championship.
But he needs to get a move on that if he hopes to achieve that. He may not have a better team around him than he has had this year, and if his performance slips any more, then…well, it will be extremely hard for even this team to win.
— CBS Sports Radio (@CBSSportsRadio) December 23, 2020