PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has struggled to near-career-low numbers through four weeks of the 2021 season, but Roethlisberger said after the team’s loss to Green Bay that he’s not planning on giving up after some early difficulties.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he plans on standing by his 39-year-old signal caller.
Asked if Roethlisberger remains the best option for his team at quarterback during his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin was definitive.
“Absolutely,” Tomlin said. “What he does and what he’s done makes me really comfortable in saying that.”
That doesn’t mean that Tomlin hasn’t heard the noise from the fanbase that has grown impatient with Roethlisberger’s lack of execution.
“Ben and I have been at our jobs long enough that we know and understand what comes with it,” he said. “We love Pittsburgh, PA. We love Steeler Nation and appreciate the passion that they have and we understand the responsibilities that come with our roles. Him being the quarterback, me being a head coach, oftentimes we get too much credit when things are going well and we’re always ready to absorb the negativity of our positions when things aren’t going well. That’s just life for us.”
What gives Tomlin the confidence in Roethlisberger’s ability to turn things around is that what he’s seeing that’s going wrong appears — to Tomlin — to largely be correctible.
“Everything except mobility,” Tomlin said. “I don’t have an answer for that, or lack thereof. Ben used to be able to run really good when he was young. Those days are behind him. Other than that, I don’t see much that’s not a discussion in terms of technical alterations or quality of play that can’t be improved.”
Roethlisberger’s lack of mobility has been exacerbated by an offensive line that has consistently yielded pressure and a running game that has failed to get much of a push. But the line improved in those areas against Green Bay. Roethlisberger was hit a season-low four times while Najee Harris averaged over four yards per cary for the first time in his career.
That leaves the quarterback as the biggest remaining source of potential improvement.