PITTSBURGH – Despite offensive inconsistencies that contributed to a third straight loss, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin still has confidence in his quarterback. Tomlin was adamant on Tuesday when asked if Ben Roethlisberger was still the right quarterback for offense.
“Absolutely,” Tomlin said. “What he’s doing and what he’s done really makes me feel comfortable saying that.”
Roethlisberger, who Tomlin said suffered from a “hip problem” in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, completed 26 of 40 attempts for 232 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
After leading a strong practice on opening possession – one capped by a 45-yard strike to Diontae Johnson – Roethlisberger and the offense struggled to keep pace the rest of the night. Roethlisberger missed a handful of shots to open the receivers, including two to JuJu Smith-Schuster who, if caught, looked like they were destined for the end zone.
“It’s him some, it’s us collectively some,” said Tomlin, explaining the inconsistency in the passing game. “We just have to keep working. Sometimes that can be attributed to changing plans at the weekend due to player availability or guys not being available.…
“We had big game opportunities, we [haven’t] cashed in on them. We have to cash them. They’re an important part of moving the ball and scoring, especially when you’re not working as efficiently as you want on possessions, which we don’t. … We’re also going to be working to connect to a higher percentage of these big chunk opportunities, as that also helps us push the scoreboard up. “
In the first three weeks, Roethlisberger was often under the strain of the pass rush, but that was not the case on Sunday.
He’s only under pressure on 7% of his 40 shots and has only been hit five times. According to ESPN Stats and Information, this is the lowest pressure percentage by a QB with 40 attempted passes in a loss since 2013.
Despite this, he left Green Bay with a “hip problem”, his second game injury this season after a left pectoral injury he sustained against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Tomlin, however, said he was no more concerned about Roethlisberger’s level of safety behind the line given his age and mobility than he was a year ago.
“Not out of the ordinary,” said Tomlin. “I am sure if you have examined the tape and watched these tours [news conferences] from the first 11 weeks of last year and probably said similar things. He was up and we were undefeated.
“There’s probably an element of being right in your late 30s and playing that game and that position and especially when you’re not playing winning football and getting a bit of a dimension there is. collateral damage that is associated with it for him and for us. “
In four games, Roethlisberger has a total QBR of 36.3, the fifth-worst in the NFL. Only rookies Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Davis Mills and Justin Fields follow him.
Much like his claim a week ago that he wasn’t going to press the panic button, Tomlin also didn’t seem worried about the trajectory of Roethlisberger’s performance, saying almost everything was fixable.
“Everything except mobility,” Tomlin said with a chuckle. “I have no answer to that, or no answer. Ben was able to run really well when he was young. Those days are behind him.
“Other than that, I don’t see much that isn’t a discussion in terms of technical changes or quality of play that can be improved.”