Originally written on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 6/30/14

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 27: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Ben Roethlisberger went down in last weeks game versus the Texans with a foot sprain.  He did not miss a play but after the game he could barely move.  He was one of the last players out of the locker room.  When Roethlisberger boarded the teams flight home he was in a walking boot and on crutches.

Roethlisberger wants and expects to play on Sunday.  I respect and admire his willingness to play through pain.  He has got a bigger pair then most when it comes to this stuff.  People may call him a drama queen and think he embellishes his injuries but the man barely ever misses a snap.  Whether it was a badly broken nose versus the Ravens or a sprained foot against the Texans Roethlisberger is on the field.  He did not miss a play even though after the game he couldn’t move his foot.  I would not want any other person under center for the Steelers.  I would not trade Roethlisberger for the world.  He is Steelers football.

That being said I would hold Roethlisberger out until he is healthy.  We still have a patchwork offensive line.  Even with the return of Legursky and Scott this week there is not one guy on the line who is 100% healthy.  With a bad foot Roethlisberger will have less mobility.  Look at how much of a beating he is taking and he has escapability now.  Without that attribute to his game he may not make it much longer.

The Steelers play a very easy schedule this season.  It would be better for them to hold him out for a game or two to get healthy rather then throw him out there now and get him put on Injured Reserve for the year.  Charlie Batch has proven he is capable of playing.  He held down the fort for the Steelers with a 3-1 record while Roethlisberger was out last season.  He can handle Tennessee and Jacksonville over the next 2 weeks.  Let the line and Ben get healthy and have them down the stretch and maybe you still get to the playoffs.  Do not throw them out there now and possibly lose Roethlisberger for the season and have no chance at the playoffs.

Tennessee could easily finish the job that the Texans started next week.  The Titans are 12th in the NFL in sacks with 10.  They pressure the quarterback and make plays on defense.  They pride themselves in hitting the quarterback.  With the guys on the offensive line if Roethlisberger makes it through this week it will be a miracle.

Roethlisberger does not deserve the punishment the Steelers front office and Coach Tomlin have put him through.  Since Roethlisberger has been in the league he has been sacked 288 times.  That is an average of over 41 sacks per season.  Roethlisberger has been sacked 14 times this year.  He is on pace for 56 sacks which would be a Steelers record.  The Steelers do not even attempt to protect Roethlisberger.

If he was not who he is he would not be around anymore.  Since Roethlisberger was drafted in 2004 the Steelers have only drafted 1 offensive linemen in Round 1 and that was Maurkice Pouncey.  They have only drafted 3 others up to round 3.  Those would be this years second round pick Marcus Gilbert, Max Starks and Trai Essex.  The team does not value offensive linemen.  If they did we would have at least one other Super Bowl ring right now and maybe more.  When Roethlisberger has time to throw he makes plays.  He does not have that often either.

Lets go back to this offseason.  The Steelers signed Willie Colon to a 5 year, $29 million deal.  That deal was more money then Pro Bowl Tackle Tyson Clabo got from the Atlanta Falcons.  Clabo signed a 5 year, $25 million contract with the guaranteed money only being 4 million more then Colon got in his deal.  Clabo is 29 years old and once again a Pro Bowler on the best offensive line in the league last season.  He is only one year older then Colon and a much better player.

Clabo was not the only player that the Steelers passed on for Colon and Jontahan Scott.  They passed on several other pro bowl offensive linemen for a guy who had a torn achilles tendon.  Something most offensive linemen do not come back from.  Oh wait the Steelers already know that.  Right Kendall Simmons?  The offensive line decisions are sketchy at best.  Loyalty to bad players does not make your team better.  We did not have a good line when Colon was healthy let alone now.

Roethlisberger is a trooper and does not deserve this treatment.  I will never give up on a season but this offensive line class is beastly.  I would take a top 15 pick to get a Left Tackle and a starting guard to protect Big Ben.  He needs and should get it.




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