The Steelers are 1-3 through the first four games of 2021, their worst start since 2019, when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1. Now, the 39-year-old Roethlisberger is one of the chief culprits for Pittsburgh's struggles, battling multiple injuries and posting subpar production after taking a pay cut earlier this offseason. Coach Mike Tomlin said this week, however, that Big Ben "absolutely" remains the team's best option at quarterback. On Thursday, ESPN took it a step further, reporting that the Steelers will not bench the longtime starter at any point during the 2021 season.
"They are never gonna bench Ben Roethlisberger," Adam Schefter said on "Get Up," ahead of the Steelers' Week 5 game against the Broncos. "It's never gonna get to that. So he has to figure out a way to play better, make better decisions and elevate this team."
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler echoed Schefter, saying he got a blunt response from Steelers sources while inquiring about a potential QB change: "Heck no."
Is Pittsburgh really set in stone with this stance? At 1-3, the team is decidedly behind the rest of the division, which has gone a combined 9-3 through the first four weeks, and the Steelers' next three games come against the Broncos (3-1), Seahawks (2-2) and Browns (3-1). Roethlisberger's career resume is an all-timer in Pittsburgh, as Tomlin alluded to earlier this week, but it stands to reason the cries for a potential QB change would grow louder if the Steelers are on the fast track to Tomlin's first losing campaign.
Then again, considering Roethlisberger is already battling several injuries, it's possible Pittsburgh could ultimately make a change dictated -- at least publicly -- by the current QB's health. Either way, if the team wants to contend in the AFC North, it needs more from whomever is under center.
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