For just the fifth time in the Ben Roethlisberger era, the Pittsburgh Steelers have one or fewer wins through their first four games. The previous four times resulted in the team missing the playoffs, ending with eight wins in ’06, ’13, and ’19, and nine wins in ’18. Not a lot of great historical precedence going for the Steelers after this type of start, and there is plenty of blame to go around so far.
After another lackluster performance in Green Bay, here are the players with their stock on the move:
C KENDRICK GREEN – STOCK UP
Kendrick Green has struggled so far in the first quarter of his rookie campaign, landing on the “stock down” portion of this list last week, but week four was easily his best game yet. He of course had some rough plays going up against Kenny Clark, but he allowed zero pressures, committed zero penalties, and when he lost he lost pretty slowly. Green’s success was part of Najee Harris’s high running success rate and provides a building block off which the offense can start to build and find an identity.
His play earned him the top offensive grade for the Steelers by Pro Football Focus at 77.2, buoyed by a team high run blocking grade of 80.5. There was some discussion going on amongst the media that Green should be benched and allowed more time to develop. While he has plenty of development left to do, he showed flashes of good play that will keep him in the starting lineup for now.
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER – STOCK DOWN
Ben Roethlisberger lands on this list as “stock down” for the second week in a row. When you look at his stat line compared to Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, it doesn’t look like Ben did that bad as he completed 26 passes on 40 attempts. Nobody who watched the game would mistake this as a good performance for him.
He was having accuracy issues all game and missed at least two easy completions to Juju Smith-Schuster, each of which had the potential to end in a touchdown. The offensive line did their best work this season in protecting Ben, allowing only seven pressures, but it still looked like he was in a hurry to get the ball out and not getting to all of his reads. Ben blamed his accuracy issues on throwing mechanics, while Mike Tomlin announced a new hip injury for Ben while affirming that the team has no plans to bench him.
WR JAMES WASHINGTON – STOCK UP
Prior to the season there had been some reports about James Washington being unhappy with his playing time, and it makes sense given that he is in a contract year and stands to lose a lot of money by sitting on the bench. Just four games into the season, each of the three top Steelers receivers have battled some type of injury and James Washington finally got his chance in week four replacing Chase Claypool in the lineup.
Washington played well catching four of his five targets for 69 yards. He led the receiving corps with 31 yards after the catch, giving Ben Roethlisberger a 118.8 passer rating when targeted. It is a long season, and James Washington should get plenty more opportunities throughout the year given his play in limited snaps.
CB CAMERON SUTTON – STOCK DOWN
Cam Sutton started out the season with a solid uptrend in his stock, but had a brutal performance against Green Bay. He was targeted a team high nine times and allowed five receptions into his coverage for 92 yards. It appears that a large part of Green Bay’s game plan was to attack Sutton, and it paid off as they were constantly moving the chains on him.
The Steelers did do a good job not getting beat over the top, allowing only one completion of 15+ yards. Its possible Sutton was being used in such a way to favor defending deep, but he is not making enough individual plays right now and garnered a team-low 29.1 coverage grade from PFF.
DL CHRIS WORMLEY – STOCK UP
Chris Wormley admitted to having a poor attitude in the face of adversity last year as he dealt with being traded to a new city during all of the covid lockdowns and such. Prior to the 2021 season he spoke about turning a new leaf and he has done just that. Asked to fill in for Stephon Tuitt in the starting lineup while Tuitt deals with injury and personal tragedy, he has played well – week four being his best yet.
Wormley played all over the defensive front, but primarily was lined up over tackle or playing 3-technique. His versatility is very important to the defense right now with Tyson Alualu and Tuitt out. He registered two quarterback hurries, four tackles, and a forced fumble. Pro Football Focus had him as the Steelers’ best run defender by a longshot in week four with a 91.3 rush defense grade and a 90.3 overall grade. Even when Tuitt comes back, Wormley should get plenty of snaps playing all over the defensive line.