The last time Ben Roethlisberger made an appearance on the radio airwaves around Pittsburgh, he caused quite a stir.
As many know, Roethlisberger used his weekly Ben Roethlisberger Show on 93.7 The Fan as a way to get a little loose-lipped and speak his mind in the past, stating some things about teammates that became quite controversial. After walking away from that show a few years back, Roethlisberger has been radio silent — until Friday.
Appearing on the WDVE Morning show on 102.5 in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger went out with a bang – in a good way, for the most part.
Playing behind a rebuilt offensive line all season long that featured two rookies in left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and center Kendrick Green, not to mention first-year Steeler Trai Turner, as well as reserve interior offensive linemen John Leglue and J.C. Hassenauer, Roethlisberger was bruised and battered throughout the year, taking the most hits and sacks he’s taken in a single season since the 2013 season.
Despite some of the struggles up front and the lack of a run game throughout the season to take some pressure off of him, Roethlisberger had nothing but praise for Moore Jr. and Green on Friday during his appearance on the WDVE Morning Show. Asked by Mike Prisuta regarding the rookie offensive linemen and if they’re part of the future in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger was quick to state that he does believe they’re part of the future, and will be key leaders in the Steel City.
“I do. I saw, last week specifically — I’m probably going to get in trouble for talking about injuries but who cares at this point — Dan Moore gets kind of a high-ankle in the first quarter last week. He might have missed one play, maybe?” Roethlisberger said during his appearance on WDVE. “He’s got heart, he’s got passion, he’s smart and he’s very, very good. He’s going to be the left tackle of the future for this football team, and he’s going to be very good at it.”
Though Moore Jr. has had his struggles at times this season, it’s important to remember he was viewed as a developmental tackle, one that could eventually take over the left or right tackle job after some seasoning. Instead, Moore Jr. was thrust right into the starting lineup from Week 1 in Buffalo after right tackle Zach Banner had a setback in training camp with his surgically repaired knee, forcing Chukwuma Okorafor to right tackle and Moore Jr. into the lineup in a trial-by-fire basis at left tackle.
It hasn’t always been pretty for Moore, who ranks as the 110th-best tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 57.0. But Roethlisberger believes the future is bright for the Texas A&M product.
“He cares about his job, cares about protecting his quarterback, and that’s really what you want in a lineman,” Roethlisberger said. “He is going to sit there for a long time at left tackle.”
As for Green, his struggles at center have been well-documented, from struggling to cleanly snap the football, to snapping the football on time. Staying on his feet in the run game, identifying blitzes in pass protection, and just staying on blocks in general. Despite the struggles, Roethlisberger still believes in Green as a Steeler, though the 18-year quarterback believes a move to guard would best serve him.
“KG is a guy that I think we put a lot on this year,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s a guy that didn’t play much center, even in college. I truly — look, I’m not a coach, I’m not going to make these decisions — I think, at some point, KG should probably get moved to guard and he will dominate this league at guard because he just has that fire and passion.
“You can’t have that at guard because you can’t really have that at center; you have to be cerebral and not try to get into fights after every play,” Roethlisberger added with a chuckle. “…I just think those guys are going to be ones that are blocking for Naj [Najee Harris] and do some amazing things here for a long time.”