The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to face the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens two times in three weeks and there is potential that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be on the sideline for both of the match ups. Roethlisberger suffered a sternoclavicular joint sprain on Monday Night against the Chiefs and Byron Leftwich is set to be at the helm.
One former Steelers receiver who is very familiar with the Pittsburgh – Baltimore rivalry has given his take on the Steelers chances without Roethlisberger. Hines Ward said that the team won’t be going very far without their franchise signal-caller.
Ward was asked by Pro Football Talk co-host Erik Kuselias about how the Steelers offense will roll without Roethlisberger.
He said, “Not very well for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going out there, they’ve got to have Ben on the field. One thing about him, to be able to extend plays; get outside the pocket, that’s when he’s at his best.
“When you lose that element of the game and put Byron in there, a guy who is less mobile, now everybody can just pin back their ears and go with the pass rush and the blitz and they change their dynamics of play calling. So other guys have to go out and still make plays for Byron.”
It’s a bigger problem than that for the Steelers. According to Ward, the Steelers won’t be going very far without Roethlisberger running the show.
Ward said, “Not very far, not very far at all. He is their whole team. He is the leader of their team, he makes the offense go and all the guys around him, he makes them better. If Ben’s not on the field its very hard for the Pittsburgh Steelers to go to where they want to go.”
It’s not exactly the type of endorsement the Steelers were hoping for from a guy like Ward, but it is the harsh reality that they face heading into some of their most important games of the season without their starting quarterback.