Assuming he’s healthy enough to play, Ben Roethlisberger will be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback for Week 5’s game against the Denver Broncos. To hear it from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he’ll also be the team’s quarterback in Week 6, Week 10, and Week 17. Schefter joined Get Up Thursday afternoon and though it probably shouldn’t be considered an “official” report, said what is obvious to many.
“They are never going to bench Ben Roethlisberger,” Schefter said. “It’s never going to get to that.”
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have stood behind their quarterback, Tomlin telling reporters Tuesday that Roethlisberger “absolutely” is the best option for the team.
“What he does and what he’s done makes me really comfortable in saying that,” he said during his press conference.
Roethlisberger’s clearly in the final season of his career. Different organizations have taken different approaches to handling a Hall of Famer’s swan song. The New York Giants benched Eli Manning five games into the 2019 season, though they had a first rounder in Daniel Jones to turn to. The Denver Broncos turned to Brock Osweiler in 2015 after a hobbled Peyton Manning struggled through the season. Manning returned for the postseason and won a Super Bowl. On the other hand, Dan Marino went 5-6 as a starter in his final season with the Dolphins, though Miami made the playoffs that year.
Pittsburgh’s given no indication Roethlisberger will be benched anytime in the near future. The only moment it could become a question is if and when the Steelers are eliminated from postseason contention. However, even then, there’s no guarantee the team will turn to Mason Rudolph, a younger player still worth evaluating but not the budding face of the future.
To Schefter, the Steelers’ focus is getting Roethlisberger back on track.
“He has to figure out a way to play better, make better decisions, and elevate this team to where it played in the first week of the season when they beat the Bills.”
Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense was far from great in the opener, though they did a better job taking care of the football and committing fewer penalties. The bar should be set higher than that for a 1-3 team in an ultra-competitive AFC North.
Ultimately, the Steelers’ decision to bench Roethlisberger may be taken out of their hands. He’s been sacked ten times this season after being dropped just 13 times a season ago. He’s already playing through multiple injuries, a pec issue and bruised hip, and the odds of his 39-year old body holding up another 13 games aren’t very good. At some point, the Steelers are likely to play Mason Rudolph not by choice, but by force.
"[The Steelers] are never going to bench Ben Roethlisberger. It's never going to get to that."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 7, 2021