Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
I got my first extended look at Steeler rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this past Sunday during Pittsburgh’s game against Cincinnati. And while the Steelers won the game I didn’t think that Roethlisberger was all that impressive.
It isn’t that he doesn’t have his strong points. He’s very poised, has great size and an excellent arm.
However, he doesn’t appear comfortable at all throwing from the pocket, an odd phenomenon considering his 6-5 height. He’s rather roll out and throw on the run. That’s fine as far as it goes, but you can’t live on that forever, at least not if you’re going to be an elite quarterback.
In addition, he took seven sacks against the Bengals, who don’t have a great pass rush. Some of those sacks helped push his team from the red zone to out of field goal range.
Before any Steeler fans out there jump on me, I think that given the fact that he’s a rookie, one who held out of camp for a while to boot, he’s progressing very well. While getting sacked to push your team out of field goal range is a rookie mistake, well, he’s a rookie and such things are to be expected. Given the Steelers’ record it’s clear that he hasn’t made very many fatal mistakes.
Still, if I’m Gregg Williams I am focusing on stopping Deuce Staley and then on making Roethlisberger beat me from the pocket.