How will 39-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger perform in his 18th NFL season in 2021? Time will certainly tell if the veteran quarterback still has enough left in the tank to help power the Steelers to a long playoff run, which is something that hasn’t happened since 2016. Steelers defensive captain Cameron Heyward, however, let it be known Tuesday morning during his interview on ‘Good Morning Football’ that he’s not worried one bit about how Roethlisberger will perform in 2021.
“We know he’s an explosive quarterback that can throw the ball all over the field,” Heyward said of Roethlisberger Tuesday morning. “But I think around (him), we’ve just got to be complementary, whether it’s on offense, defense, special teams. Ben’s still got the goods. Anyone that tells you otherwise, they haven’t really looked at football. You give that guy a good running game and tell him he doesn’t have to throw the ball 50, 60 times, he’s going to be that much more dangerous, and I think we’re looking forward to that. It’s going to be pretty good longevity-wise if he wants to keep playing.”
Heyward’s Tuesday morning comments on Roethlisberger were a bit predictable, especially the part that included him saying that the offense needs a better running game in 2021 to prevent the veteran quarterback from having the football as much as he did in 2020.
In an effort to take a lot of the pressure off Roethlisberger in 2021, the Steelers used their first four draft picks this year on offensive players, the first two being on skill position players in the form of running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh used its next two draft picks on offensive linemen in center Kendrick Green and tackle Dan Moore Jr.
The hope is that Harris will help out the Steelers’ running game tremendously in 2021 under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2020. To hear Heyward talk on Tuesday, he feels the changes made by the Steelers’ offense this offseason, especially when it comes to the addition of Harris, are more than enough to help out Roethlisberger in his 18th NFL season.
“I think as a defender, we’re most excited to have him,” Heyward said of Harris. “Having a guy like that that can tote the rock 30 to 40 times a game really puts an ease for the defense. He can do multiple things. I think the investment in our offense this offseason has been huge.”