Maybe last season, when the Ravens had more outspoken players like Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott, or Shannon Sharp, they were more than willing to get some verbal outings with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But not this Ravens squad. They are on a self-imposed verbal lockout. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound giant doesn’t need to be woken up.
“He’s still Ben Roethlisberger,” said Ravens outside linebacker Tys Bowser. “He’s still that Hall of Fame, great guy, and you have to respect him. No matter what people say, how he’s playing, whether it’s good or bad, he’s still Ben Roethlisberger, and he’s still can go out there and pretend. So, we respect that person, and we’re not going to look at him any other way [than] Besides, who is he?
“We’re going to go out there and make sure we’re going to have our best game plan against him, because we know what kind of guy he is.”
Great players get that kind of respect even in the last stages of their careers. Also, there is an unwritten rule regarding abusive veterans and the risks associated with such a move. When the aging greats stick around, they can find something in reserve to take their game to another level.
The Ravens don’t need to inspire Roethlisberger. He is 15–10 against them in his career, including a post-season 2–1 record. When you look at NFL record books, Roethlisberger’s name is always mentioned in the same place alongside the greatest quarterbacks of all time like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino.
But this season, at age 39, his stats are more comparable to that of Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, Teddy Bridgewater of the Denver Broncos and rookie Zack Wilson of the New York Jets. Therefore, the Ravens should let him sleep and put as much butter on Roethlisberger bread as possible.
“He’s taking it out quickly, and he’s very accurate,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Roethlisberger. “He’s huge. We’ve played him more than anyone else, probably, over the years. He’s made plays that were just jaw-dropping plays against us. You guys have seen him; the throws he’s made, The melee plays he makes, the Red Zone plays he makes to go to his left and find someone – they’re all indelibly imprinted on my mind, as you can probably tell. So, he’s unique. ”
So unique that it appears that neither the Pittsburgh front office nor coach Mike Tomlin wanted to make the difficult decision to move on from Roethlisberger, even though his career had been on a downward trajectory for the past two or three years. Both sides have maintained their loyalty.
Roethlisberger was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004. He has been named to the Pro Bowl six times and has led the league in passes twice. He still owns seven NFL records and is sixth on the all-time passing yards list with 62,870.
Most importantly, he won two Super Bowl titles, XL and XLIII. The Steelers have tried to get Roethlisberger back in some sort of groove by hiring three offensive coordinators — Todd Haley, Randy Fichner and Matt Canada — since 2012, but not much has really worked.
And the Steelers still won’t say goodbye to Big Ben.
But it is not about planning, philosophy or drama selection. It’s almost a quarterback who has fading skills and is constantly hanging out. It happens in every game and happened to the great Johnny Unitas here in Baltimore in the early 1970s before leaving to play with the San Diego Chargers in 1973.
When Roethlisberger first came into the league, he modeled himself after Hall of Famer John Elway, the mobile and hard-throwing quarterback of the Broncos. Because of his size, even the defensive linemen struggled to bring down Roethlisberger.
But she is no longer elusive. In fact, sometimes you scream when you hit him for fear of getting seriously hurt. The Steelers have adjusted because few quarterbacks get rid of the ball as quickly as Roethlisberger, who can’t throw as deep as he used to. He is still courageous and will try to lock the ball in tight windows because that is his nature. This is his competitive side.
But the Steelers aren’t going anywhere with him as a starter. He has completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,522 yards this season with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions, while averaging 6.6 yards completed. He has been dismissed 24 times.
Last week, in a 41-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Roethlisberger completed 24 of 41 passes for 263 yards and two interceptions, including one returned on a pass by former Steelers defensive back Mike Hilton for a 24-yard touchdown Was. In the air until Sam Koch punt.
The only remaining place for Roethlisberger to go in his career is the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. And he’ll have no problem coming in, like the Ravens should have no problem defending him on Sunday.
Unless, of course, an old Roethlisberger plays like an old Roethlisberger.