Ben Roethlisberger’s Recognition Of Problem Areas Encouraging

While they have managed to get out to a 2-1 start to the season, I think it would be disingenuous to deny that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has not lived up to its talent level that they have available to them. Short of perennial All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, who already leads the league in both receptions and receiving yards, virtually everybody has underwhelmed.

The Steelers’ offense has scored just six touchdowns through three games, adding five field goals on top of it for 11 scores on 33 drives, meaning that they only produce points on 33 percent of their drives, which ranks 18th in the league. Their 1.73 points scored per drive is little better, ranking 17th.

And it’s not for lack of possession. Their average drive length is just in the top 10 in the league, as is their average starting field position. So top 10 in opportunities, yet just below the median range in productivity, which is a bad combination.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knows the role that he has played in this, and it was great to hear him talk about it yesterday, and more notably, make note of some very specific issues that he has demonstrated over the course of the first three weeks of the season.

Not that either is much of a surprise I think who tune into the games on a weekly basis, but Roethlisberger acknowledged, at long last, that he zeroes in on targeting Brown too frequently, as something of a crutch. Sometimes it works out, as it did in the opener against the Browns. But it doesn’t always go so smoothly.

Of 42 targeted passes by Roethlisberger on Sunday, 15 went in Brown’s direction. Of 80 targeted passes over the first two weeks, 27 have gone to Brown. So all told, over the course of the first three games, he has targeted Brown on 42 of his 122 targeted passes, representing a 34-percent share of the targets.

In comparison, Martavis Bryant has been targeted 21 times. Le’Veon Bell has been targeted 17 times. And Jesse James has been targeted 19 times. Only Bryant comes even halfway to seeing Brown’s total number of targets.

The other thing that Roethlisberger acknowledged is that he has not been taking the plays that the defense is giving him often enough, instead looking for an option further down the field. Perhaps, after leading the league last season with 13 touchdown passes on deep throws, it has gotten even more tempting.

With the quarterback openly acknowledging that he needs to approve, and even identifying clear and specific areas in which he needs to improve, I do find myself hopeful that the offense will address them and mitigate them.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Carl Mendelius

    Want to know what is the real problem of the Steelers this season? Ben is no longer a mobile QB, so he is just 75% of what he was eight years ago. Plus Ben has never been particularly accurate, therefore he has become not a top 5 QB in the NFL but just a top 15. Better than him right now are: Rogers, Brady, Brees, Prescott, Ryan, Rivers, Wentz, Wilson, Mariota and Winston at least.

  • Mr jack

    I hate to say this but I think you have pen the tail on the donkey

  • steeltown

    He is less mobile, yes, but top 15? You cant name me 14 QBs better or even 10 and you sure shouldnt use Rivers, Prescott, Wilson, Mariota and Winston statistically they fall short in nearly every catigory. All while we admittedly are struggling on offense.

  • Ichabod

    Admitting/acknowledging does nothing if he doesn’t change for the better

  • Paul Rainey

    Now if we can only get Dumblin to recognize the problems we might be able to move forward. I’ll say it one more time, you can’t fix a problem until you realize you have one.

  • DAWAARE

    this is Ben’s last season,
    i really hope they sign kirk cousins 🙂

  • Michael James

    If you take into consideration that they’re in the top 10 of starting field position and then look at the talent they got on the offense, the number of points they actually put on the board is pathetic.

  • Steelerfan56

    I don’t agree with your assessment that Prescott, Wentz, Wilson, Mariota and Winston are better. But you’re right Ben’s not particularly accurate. That’s why he throws to AB because he is the best WR in the NFL. Haley needs to modify the game plan to include shorter routes and the middle of the field. The O line needs to get their stuff together because they look “old and slow” now.

  • Steel B

    He’s done. Nice ride though.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    dude come on. seriously? prescott? wentz? mariota? winston? no just no. they are promising but no.

    ben has issues this year because his #2 receiver got barely any playing time with him at camp and preseason. they have no timing.
    ben has issues because he doesnt trust jesse james, eli rogers, juju and was forcing balls to ab.
    ben has issues because his pass catching rb missed camp and they have no timing anymore.

  • SteelerSurfer

    He has never had touch on his deep ball. Not sure why, isn’t he throwing to this guys at practice and getting timing? Never understood this problem.

  • SteelerSurfer

    Ben is going to far with taking the blame, trying to be a leader? Bryant makes the simplest of catches look difficult when he needlessly contorts his body or jumps for a ball thrown to his chest. It’s almost comical.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Ben doesn’t exactly do him favors with his accuracy.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Unfortunately, this looks like a case of decreased confidence and frustration at lack of production. I think Ben, by this point in the season, was expecting a few more of his deep balls going for touchdowns or throwing for more consistent big gains. Getting those results and making those plays gets a QB into a better rhythm. But the longer he goes without really connecting with his weapons is, I think, getting in his head.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I worry that he’s staring to think about it too much.

  • FATCAT716

    Prescott now that’s laughable.. The rest maybe but come on man.. That’s my Quarterback

  • pcantidote

    At least you were brave enough to put some details in your negative assessment of Ben instead of the others that just post stupid statements like “he’s done” or “need a new qb”. Unfortunately for you in doing so however, you removed all doubt that you are a fool.

  • pcantidote

    While we all agree that Ben needs to be better for us to win a SB, what a luxury we have to be complaining about the following pace that he is on for the season: 4,000 yards, 64% completion, 27 TDs, 5 INTs. What a disaster he is!!!!!!

  • pittfan

    Tough assessment there. Lets see if his words translate into action first, eh? Besides, if MB hangs on to a couple of his bombs instead of clanking off his hands, things look a bit different.

  • pcantidote

    Not particularly accurate, yet 12th all time in completion percentage. Hmmmmm.

  • John Pennington

    I dont think he is seeing the field he has people open and throw to them.Tightend gets open no pass and he is not getting everyone involved in the game,Its the Ben and AB show and every now and then someone else, you cant win that way its a team game not just 2 player game.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    If Ben is the only one saying he needs to step up, THEN there’s a problem.

    Ben hasn’t been great, but the offensive line has been below the line at times, Bell is off to a very slow start, Martavis missed balls that were catchable last week and the play calling has been just plain weird at times.

    This is a ‘stop and take a step back as a team’ situation and if they don’t figure it out this week, they’ll be 2-2 very likely. Ravens have owned the Steelers.

  • SteelerSurfer

    No doubt about it, but is Bryant expecting them all to off? LOL

  • Smitty 6788

    Lol at all this Ben is done Ben is out if the top 15 wth.. What Ben has been so far this season is greedy. He seems as though he recognizes it and hopefully he follows thru especially on 3rd downs.

  • nutty32

    He always seems to get back in rhythm when they go no huddle and allow him to call his own plays.

  • Steeler-Drew

    It would also be nice to see the coaching staff admit they have to do better. I know Butler has done it in the past but rarely if ever do we hear from Tomlin and Haley. They were clearly out coached on both sides of the ball but so far Ben is the only one taking responsibility even though it’s been a collective effort in failing to produce.

  • Michael James

    That’s why stats can be heavily misleading. Ben has been subpar so far this season, I don’t see how anyone can come to a different conclusion.

  • Matthew Marczi

    No, but it’s awfully hard to change things you don’t recognize or acknowledge. That’s why acceptance is such a large part of support and recovery groups.

  • Matthew Marczi

    To be fair it’s not generally accepted practice for players to call each other out.

  • pcantidote

    He’s been subBen not subpar. I don’t see how anyone can come to a different conclusion.

  • MC

    I like that he’s admitted his problems but Tomlin hasn’t with that press conference. Chalking it up to missed turnover opportunities when you’re gashed by the run by putting the wrong personnel out there is just dodging the blame for the coaching.

  • jsteeler

    The game would have been over if Berry falls on the ball in the endzone.
    The game would be over if Mike Mitchell catches a int that hits him in the hands.
    The game would have been over if Ben hits Eli wide open on 3rd and 3 on the 40 forcing it to AB.
    The game would have been over if Ben would have put more air under the ball for MB.
    The game would have been over if Hubbard didn’t hold 2 times and Bell ran for 16 and 13 yards.
    The game would be over if Shazier tackles the RB in the backfield 1 time on 3rd down in the 4th qtr.
    We can go on and on.
    Hopefully, Things will change this week. I’ll be there.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    How I mean it is.. others should see the need to step up as well. Multiple areas of the team are struggling, not just the QB.

  • Carl Mendelius

    I would love to have Prescott, Wentz, Mariota or Winston instead of Ben because he plays crap on the road, has no mobility, poor accuracy and he is too old now. The former QBs are young and very talented and have a bright future even with much less talent around them than Ben.

  • Carl Mendelius

    Not one of the teams would trade Prescott, Mariota, Winston etc for Ben because Ben has lost his most valuable assets: mobility and durability. He is declining fast and at the end of this season his value will be small.