The Pittsburgh Steelers have the highest ambitions for themselves this year, though that does not vary from season to season. They always strive for the Super Bowl, whether anybody thinks they have a realistic shot or not. Not many are counting on them as title contenders in 2021, and the number of moving parts is one of the reasons why.
Just think of how much has changed on offense. While they do have stability at quarterback, of course, with Ben Roethlisberger, and in the receiving corps, the vast majority of the rest is very different. Four new starters on the offensive line. A new starting running back. A new tight end. A new offensive line coach. A new offensive coordinator.
Roethlisberger has never been thrown this much change at any point in his career, aside from, of course, his rookie season as he transitioned from college to the pros. But he’s consistently embraced it, from all accounts that we have gotten, and has been an active part in trying to bring it all together, including for players like his new center, Kendrick Green.
“I feel like me being new, Ben’s been very openminded with helping me get up to speed”, the rookie told reporters on Tuesday about his relationship with Roethlisberger. “He’s been helping me out a ton, just asking questions about the offense in general. Obviously, he wants us to play well. Ben’s been a great help, I would say, for me at least”.
The quarterback, of course, had an 11-year on-field relationship with Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2010. As their starting center, he made the Pro Bowl nine times, including last season, before retiring. Pouncey was Roethlisberger’s best friend on the team, arguably, along with Vance McDonald, and both retired. But he has welcomed the new guys—including tight end Pat Freiermuth—with open arms.
“He’s got a passion for the game, a passion to be the starting center”, he said of Green at the start of camp. “He knows the shoes and the role that he’s filling. He stayed here during our break and worked and met with coaches, and I was checking in on him. He’s taking this personal, and I think he wants to be the best, and wants there not to be a drop-off, and I think that’s a good attitude to take”.
More recently, he noted that they’ve started working on silent counts, saying that they were “working together every day to try and get as comfortable as we can, but I’m very confident and comfortable in the way that he’s progressed”.
They will need that chemistry this year, in what could very well be Roethlisberger’s final season, and potentially just the start of a very successful career for Green.