Ben Roethlisberger’s lack of mobility might be seen as a hindrance in today’s NFL, one full of mobile quarterbacks who can at least extend the play with their legs, if not create entirely on their own. That’s not going to be Roethlisberger. But new offensive lineman Trai Turner sees the benefit in having the protect for a pocket passer. He joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football to discuss the upsides
“I think it’ll be an advantage,” Turner said. “I know where he’s at in the pocket for the most part. He’s just a smart quarterback. Makes his decisions really quick.”
Roethlisberger has transformed his career from Backyard Ben, someone who would run around for several seconds at a time, to a pure pocket passer. That change has allowed him to play into his late-30s. It’s one reason why his sack numbers dropped off considerably throughout his career. Early on, he was among the most-sacked QBs in football. Now, he’s one of the least. In 2020, he had the quickest released in football, making the life of his offensive line a lot easier.
As Turner says, with mobile quarterbacks, you don’t always know where they’re going to end up. It makes it hard to stick to your block for a QB who is going to roll out. With a pocket passer, you generally know where their landing spot is going to be.
Protecting Roethlisberger will be different from previous QBs Turner’s been asked to protect. He’s blocked for more mobile passers like Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, and Justin Herbert. But he’s excited to learn from a savvy vet like Roethlisberger.
“I had a really good opportunity to play with Justin last year. I think he’s a phenomenal player. I think he’s going to do some great things in his league. But to be with Ben and to get the opportunity to just learn and to see different nuances of the game, man…when you get a veteran quarterback, they can help you out in so many different ways. So I’m just excited. I really am.”
Roethlisberger will be equally excited if Turner can protect him and help open up running lanes that simply didn’t exist along this o-line last year. That will give the Steelers’ offense more balance and efficiency and not force Roethlisberger to throw 50+ times as became routine in 2020.