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September 7, 2013

STAIRWAY TO SEVEN: Steelers success rides on health of Big Ben

OPINION — IN BEN, WE TRUST! These words have never had a more profound meaning than the 2013 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the entire Steelers Nation.

I tend to look at the Steelers this year and think the sky is the limit with the 10th year quarterback under center and fully upright, but can see what all the doom and gloom is about emanating from my fellow Black and Gold brethren.

So to make a long story short: If Roethlisberger plays all 16 games and is completely healthy the Steelers will finish somewhere in the 10-6 to 12-4 ballpark, but if he gets hurt, I can fully see the 7-9 and 6-10 predictions people are making.

Ben was well on his way to having a career year when he was injured against Kansas City and was never right once he returned three games later.

Last year, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich tried valiantly to keep the ship afloat without Roethlisberger.

And the same could be true this year with Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones if Ben gets hurt.

The good news is that he’s only missed seven games in seven years — four coming when he was suspended to start the year and last year’s three-game absence.

With how the offensive line performed during the preseason, I and many others like me have to wonder how much time it’ll take for that number to inch closer to double digits.

That’s why I’m hoping Ben has spent the offseason becoming a smarter quarterback and not take so many risks.

It’s simple honestly just throw the ball away occasionally and that’ll save him the hassle of being pummeled play-after-play.

Now, I’m not advocating he completely go away from his amazingly elusive ways but to borrow a line from Kenny Rogers — ‘know when hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.’

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s ‘dink and dunk’ offensive schemes will help a lot, too, since Roethlisberger is expected to throw a lot of short to intermediate routes.

As much as that’ll help, it all comes back to Roethlisberger being smart and understanding how easily he can get hurt (as evidenced by his 2012 injury).

We can only trust that he’ll actually do it.

Like I said in Ben, we trust.

Agree, disagree or just want to comment? Contact Corey at gcsportsguy@yahoo.com.

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