Recent remarks by Ben Roethlisberger are disturbing. Last night at the Pro Bowl he referred to Bruce Arians (BA) as "family." Last week he claimed the Steeler offense was "close to being elite." Both remarks indicate distorted thinking and perception.
I'm curious: since BA is old enough to be Ben's father, is that the family member he thinks of him as?
BA gives toys to his son and says: go play...run your toys up and down the field...have a ball...don't worry about that nasty end zone...what matters is that you have fun and get plenty of exercise (aka yards). Go nuts.
Ben to BA: I love you, Dad.
Ben's use of term "close to elite" to describe the Steeler offense is so far removed from reality that it raises the question: just how seriously have his concussions affected his cognitive abilities? Steelers ranked in bottom third of NFL in scoring in 2011 (20 ppg). In the Red Zone they were even more pathetic.
So now the Head Toygiver has been given his walking papers, and the player is pissed. He wants answers from those evil usurpers, the Rooneys.
The Rooneys need to come to their meeting with Ben armed with facts and numbers that clearly demonstrate the following: that the Steelers have been carried by their defense for years, that while they've had elite defenses, they have never had an elite offense under Ben/Arians, have never even averaged the 25 ppg. that might lead one to suspect that an "elite" offense was emerging; that under five years of BA the Steelers averaged 22 ppg. In other words: mediocrity.
Under Ben/BA what was the identity of their offense? It often resembled sandlot football, with far too many drives ending with low percentage heaves downfield, seemingly in frustration after the bubble screens, stretch runs, and all-too-frequent sacks left them in hopeless third-and-long situations.
The Rooneys need to be blunt with Ben and tell him something like this: Look Ben, we think you are great. We love your skills. But it's time to refine them and become a mature NFL QB: one whose game isn't over-dependent on the big play, the quick score. We need a plan of action: a system that produces points and decisive wins, not just excitement and yardage. In other words: we are sick and tired of living on the edge.
Bottom line is this: if Ben isn't up to the task, then it's time to move on.