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Pro Football Focus has some end-of-the-season thoughts on the Steelers, including some interesting insight into the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who finished the season as the 11th-rated QB in the league, according to PFF. Thatís a pretty good grade considering the rough start Roethlisberger encountered. Roethlisberger was the 7th-rated QB last season.
Here are some other notes on Roethlisberger:
*His effectiveness under pressure declined. While under pressure he completed 49.7% of his passes, down from 56.5% a year ago. But he is still ranked 8th among all quarterbacks under pressure. I suspect much of that ineffectiveness came in the first part of t he season when he didnít stand much of a chance with the swinging gate at left tackle, but itís something to keep an eye on.
* While Roethlisbegrerís effectiveness under pressure declined, he was sharp from an accuracy standpoint. PFF developed an accuracy percentage that takes into consideration dropped passes, throw aways, spikes, batted passes and passes where the QB was hit as thrown. Roethlisberger had an accuracy percentage of 74.7% this season, fifth best in the league.
*Roethlisberger also suffered from an inordinate number of drops from his receivers, tight ends and running backs. Only five quarterbacks in the league had more dropped passes than the 36 that he had to deal with.
Some running game and offensive line notes:
*It appears David DeCastro is by far the teamís top run blocking offensive linemen. The Steelers averaged 5.2 yards between the right guard and center and 3.8 between the right guard and right tackle.
*Heath Miller had an up-and-down season with more negative grades than positive grades, and he especially struggled with his run-blocking.
*DeCastro and Ramon Foster and each graded out among the top 14 guards in the league. Foster finished as the second-ranked left guard in terms of pass protection, allowing only two sacks, two hits and 12 hurries in 523 pass-blocking snaps.
*As a unit, the offensive line ranked 21st in the league in pass-blocking efficiency.
Some receiver notes:
*Antonio Brown, to no oneís surprise graded out among the top five receivers in the league.
*Jerricho Cotcheryís six touchdown receptions from the lost ranked behind only Wes Welker and Eddie Royal, who had seven apiece.
*OLB Jason Worilds finished the season ranked 8th in pass rush productivity.
*OLB LaMarr Woodley graded out even better, but he did not qualify because he did not play enough snaps. If he did, he would have finished the season fourth in pass rush productivity. The knock on Woodley has been his ability to stay healthy. But when he is healthy PFF says he is among the most productive players at his position.
*No defensive back in the league allowed more yards through the air than Ike Taylor, who surrendered 1,043. Itís no wonder the Steelers did not allow him to follow the other teamís No. 1 receiver in the final portion of the season. Taylor finished the season as one of the bottom 12 cornerbacks in the league according to PFF.
*William Gay, meanwhile, finished the season ranked 8th among all cornerbacks. He allowed just 493 yards through the air and only one touchdown. Taylor gave up more against Josh Gordon in Cleveland. Almost.
*Troy Polamalu finished as the fourth-ranked safety in the league.