The ever-patient Bob Labriola at Steelers.com answers fan questions in his weekly “Asked & Answered” column. Thought I’d share the most recent Q&A’s regarding #7. Enjoy!
From December 22nd:
JACKSON LATTA FROM PRESTONSBURG, KY: I love your column, but I can’t get past how many people write to you speculating about the futures of Devlin Hodges, Mason Rudolph, or some other quarterback du jour. Are you surprised that more people aren’t putting this season into perspective and fully appreciating just how fortunate the Steelers have been to have Ben Roethlisberger for these last 17 seasons, and counting?
BOB LABRIOLA:When it comes to sports fans, and what interests them, or angers them, or what they choose to appreciate vs. expect vs. complain about, little surprises me anymore.
JACOB MCBETH FROM CHEYENNE, WY: The offense seems highly disorganized at times – multiple receivers in the same spot, not “clocking” the ball when ordered from the sideline, etc. What will it take to lessen this sloppy play?
BOB LABRIOLA: Nothing more than an experienced, veteran, proven quarterback running the show. Young players need time to develop. Here’s a little fun fact about that: On the days when Ben Roethlisberger is given the day off at training camp, practices routinely run up to 15 minutes late because of the extra time spent getting in and out of the huddle, getting the play called correctly, lining up properly, etc. This is the Ben Roethlisberger effect. Appreciate him while he’s here.
From December 19th:
KWAME FREEMAN FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: This 2019 season has seen a return to classic defensive/running the football season for the Steelers. When Ben Roethlisberger returns, do you expect them to get away from this style of football? Also, if Ben does his usual light reps during training camp, and sits out all of the preseason games, how would you expect him to start 2020?
BOB LABRIOLA: Coach Mike Tomlin is, and has been, a believer in managing the wear and tear on Ben Roethlisberger’s right arm, and you can expect that to continue during the post-surgery process. The goal during the offseason will be to get Roethlisberger back from the surgery and then to prepare him for the 17 weeks of the regular season. It’s going to be a process, and these kinds of processes often don’t progress smoothly. Be patient. He doesn’t have a bionic arm. As for the style of offense you can expect once Roethlisberger returns to the lineup, well, I really don’t envision him attempting 45-plus passes a game on a weekly basis, but I also cannot imagine the Steelers utilizing the same type of offensive plan they have been forced to employ since he had the surgery.
From December 15th:
JAMES BOWEN FROM MEXIA, TX: I believe it is time to move on from Roethlisberger and let Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges lead us from here on out . Ben is no Tom Brady or Drew Brees and hasn’t done much these past years. Why do you constantly defend him?
BOB LABRIOLA: Hahahahahahahahahaha. Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t need me to defend him. His performance does an excellent job of that. To refresh your memory, in 2018 Roethlisberger completed 67 percent of his passes for 5,129 yards, with 34 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and a rating of 96.5.
Mr. Labriola, you keep doin’ you!!