To hear J.C. Hassenauer tell it, Ben Roethlisberger sounds like Shane Falco. Someone who rallies the troops, believes in his guys, and gets them to believe in themselves. Hassenauer spoke with Sirius Radio’s Lance Medow and touched on what it’s like being in the huddle with Roethlisberger.
“When you go into the huddle with Ben,” Hassenauer said, “you get a confidence. You get a sixth sense that surrounds you. Like, dude, this is intense. Like we are protecting this guy. There’s like a confidence that exudes the huddle when he’s leading. I mean, it’s the same with all quarterbacks, but when you have a guy like him, it’s just different.”
That comes from the experience and the success of a 39-year old, future Hall of Fame quarterback. Roethlisberger has something no other Steeler in the locker room has. A Super Bowl ring. Two of them, in fact. That lends credibility in that room, especially to young guys like Hassenauer trying to find their way.
Roethlisberger will have to rally a new and overall, young offensive line in 2021. It’ll be one of the greatest challenges the team has faced up front in over a decade since they rebuilt their line with the selections of Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, and David DeCastro along with UDFA/waiver wire gems like Ramon Foster, Alejandro Villanueva, and Mat Feiler, among others.
The 2021 group looks vastly different from even a year ago with the additions of Kendrick Green, Dan Moore Jr, and Trai Turner along with Zach Banner moving back into the starting lineup and Chukwuma Okorafor shifting to left tackle.
Hassenauer will spend this summer vying to be the next in line of undrafted players to climb the ladder and work his way into the starting lineup. There is an open competition to be the Steelers’ next starting center, a battle that hasn’t existed for non-injury reasons since Pouncey was drafted 18th overall in the 2010 draft. He may not be the favorite but gained valuable experience last season. His lack of size hurts him but makes him a better fit at center than at guard, where he struggled mightily in 2020.