The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Ben Roethlisberger will be more consistent in his accuracy next week.
Explanation: Roethlisberger only completed 18 of his 32 pass attempts on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills for a 56.25 completion percentage. Many of those incomplete passes were genuinely off-target and uncatchable, not due to miscommunication but due to misplacement.
Roethlisberger hasn’t played a whole lot since last season. He played just three drives in one preseason game last month, completing eight of 10 pass attempts for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He looked more crisp in that game, and there is no reason to assume he can’t look the same against the Las Vegas Raiders.
It’s difficult to put a finger one Roethlisberger’s issues, but he did seem to get more accurate as the game wore on. He hit some pinpoint targets in the second half in particular, suggesting that he was knocking some rust off and getting a feel for the game.
Now that he has a game under his belt, not just throwing in the regular season but also playing behind this offensive line configuration, he should be reasonably expected to perform closer to his typical base performance.
Roethlisberger’s accuracy issues have been slipping for years, including in the close range. While he did suffer a high number of dropped passes last year, he was still well below average in this department. He even managed to complete under 90 percent of his passes targeted behind the line of scrimmage (although, to be fair, so did Patrick Mahomes).
This offensive line is still going to be going through its growing pains, and that is not going to afford Roethlisberger a lot of solid bases from which to throw accurately. That’s going to throw off his numbers until the men in front of him can begin to gel, and that’s going to take at least several weeks.
Plus, he’s not getting any younger.