At this point in the season, no one’s body feels good. If it does, that just means you haven’t played a lick. For a 39-year old quarterback who at times has taken a beating this season, it’s no shock to know Ben Roethlisberger isn’t 100%. Talking with the media Tuesday, he discussed the specific ailments he’s dealing with, pointing out his shoulder hurts a lot more than his surgically repaired elbow.
“It’s just a different spot in my arm,” he told reporters via Steelers.com. “It’s my shoulder that hurts more than my elbow. My elbow feels great thanks to the doctors. I’ve thrown, wish someone can keep track, a million throws in my life. So at some point your shoulder starts to wear down a little bit. Just like any quarterback, your arm always hurts a little bit.”
To put some math on it, Roethlisberger has attempted 8,253 career regular season passes, sixth most all-time, and he’ll soon pass Dan Marino for fifth place. That is still just a fraction of his career passes, excluding playoffs (another 744 throws), preseason, practice, training camp, college, and everything else in a quarterback’s life. It’s fair to say his actual number of throws is somewhere well north of 15,000, maybe even closer to 20,000.
Since his 2019 surgery and recovery, the focus has been on his elbow that gave him problems for years, pain he managed along the way until he couldn’t. But according to him, that’s no longer a concern. Roethlisberger has been under fire more this season than year’s past, sacked 25 times in 11 starts. That nearly doubles the amount of times he was dropped a year ago, 13 times in 15 starts.
Especially early in the season, he took some serious body-blows, making it fair to wonder if his body would hold up to even this point.
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t played well this season. But I’ve been wincing watching him take some of the hits he’s absorbed through the first four games. Painful to watch.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 5, 2021
Though the hits have been a little less aggressive, Roethlisberger has been sacked at least once in every game this season. It’s in large part a product of playing behind an almost brand-new offensive line. Two rookies in left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and center Kendrick Green, a second-year player in left guard Kevin Dotson, and a player new to the Steelers in right guard Trai Turner.
The Vikings come into the league second in sacks with 36, only one behind the Steelers. Minnesota lacks a dominant pass rusher after losing Danielle Hunter for the season, still the team lead with six sacks in just seven games. Everson Griffin is out of the lineup due to mental health issues, leaving LB Eric Kendricks and DT Armon Watts as their sack active sack leaders.
Roethlisberger noted that while the Vikings don’t blitz much, under head coach Mike Zimmer, they show aggressive “double barrel” looks (meaning the LBs press the A gaps) just as the Bengals did when Zimmer served as defensive coordinator. It’s one reason why a linebacker like Kendricks has four sacks for them.