Inside Conditions: Ben Roethlisberger, the irreplaceable hostage-taker

by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier

The ‘beatdown’ goes on

Just what beat is Ben Roethlisberger marching to?

“The beat goes on, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. La de da de de, la de da de da. Charleston was once the rage, uh huh. History has turned the page, uh huh. Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh. And the beat goes on, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain, La de da de de, la de da de da…” (Lyrics from “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny and Cher)

One of the most important elements in our existence is the component of rhythm. Without rhythm our hearts would beat erratically and sporadically, pumping too much blood throughout our bodies when we don’t need it and not enough blood when we do. Our lungs would also pump air like an uncontrolled pair of bellows without rhyme or reason. Rhythm is a must at all times.

The Steelers began their 2021 regular season gingerly marching along by defeating the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo. Many pundits consider that game a combination of the Bills underestimating and looking past the Steelers as well as Pittsburgh being just plain lucky. Why? Well, because the Steelers have lost their following two games against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals looking like they were a marching band wearing two left shoes, along with a rhythm section using coffee cans as drums and toothpicks as drumsticks. Oh, did I fail to mention…the band looked as though they were following conductors that were using “street music” as opposed to sheet music.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is once again playing as if he is waiting for a cue from the conductor to start performing at the level of an average NFL signal-caller. No one is saying for him to perform like a top 10 QB but just to consistently land in the middle of the pack somewhere.

After the Black and Yellow was beaten down by the Raiders, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had this to say about the left pec injury to “Big” Ben that occurred during that game. “One man’s misfortune or the taking care of a veteran player is a growth opportunity for young guys. If we get into some of that, if I minimize Ben some tomorrow, it’s a great day for Mason Rudolph, it’s a great day for Dwayne Haskins to get elevated and get snaps and grow as professionals.”

Well, if that were true, why wasn’t Mason Rudolph (in my opinion a Landry Jones clone) or Dwayne Haskins prepared to compete against the Bengals this past Sunday?

Roethlisberger was not ready, physically nor mentally, to compete against the Bengals or any other NFL squad. The grooming process for a new starting QB for the Steelers should have begun years ago. “(Invisible) drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.” Ben Roethlisberger is not marching to the beat of his own drummer or marching to the beat of Matt Canada, his offensive coordinator, or the drums of his wide receivers. Hell. Roethlisberger just seems to be marching aimlessly to a rhythm that is not even discernible to the football gods. Instead of marching toward the end zone; he seems to be marching head-first without delay, post-haste to the “Fedko Zone.”

A successor for Ben Roethlisberger must be selected and groomed now! Not when he decides it or feels like it. He must be benched or pushed out if necessary. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be forced to stomach defeat, let it be from the growing pains of the quarterback of the future as opposed to old folks’ pain being experienced by Ben Roethlisberger. Let the weather report inform us of a storm that is imminent as opposed to Ben Roethlisberger forecasting the weather as a result of an old injury. It is time, it has been time, now is the time for #7 to ride off into the sunset if he can get on the horse, before the sun goes down on a proud Pittsburgh Steelers season and franchise.

History is not kindly turning the page. Nope. In case you might have missed it: “teenybopper quarterbacks are our newborn NFL kings.” Yep. If the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t change now, not only will the beat go on, the “beatdown” will go on and on and on… “La de da de de, la de da de da…”


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