The schemes have changed, but the beatings have remained the same for Ben Roethlisberger.
Actually, they’ve gotten worse.
The Steelers quarterback is getting sacked at a higher rate than when he was playing under coordinator Bruce Arians, who was criticized for not sufficiently protecting the investment.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 26 sacks Roethlisberger has absorbed so far puts him on pace for 59, well beyond his career-high of 50 — if he mades it that long.
Asked how he was holding up physically, Roethlisberger laughed and replied: “I am all right so far. As long as we slow it down soon.”
Including postseason games, he’s been sacked 406 times, more than any quarterback in the last 10 years. It was something he could absorb when he was younger, but at 31, they know he’s not bouncing up as quickly as in the past.
“He’s the toughest quarterback in the league but after a while, obviously you get sick of that,” right tackle Marcus Gilbert said. “Any of us would. He’s trying to get the job done and he feels pressure every time or gets hit with shots to the leg or to the head. We have to take more pride in it. Whether it’s change up the scheme or just get better with the line — and the injuries aren’t helping. . . .
“It stinks to see him come in the next day limping around, barely walking. You got to be better, you have to take pride in that.”
Line problems have been a persistent issue, and it doesn’t help that right guard David DeCastro (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week. Left guard Ramon Foster (concussion) did, and the Steelers have to hope they can patch something together to keep Roethlisberger upright.