The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting in last place in the AFC North with a 1-2 record through three games.
— Brad Stainbrook (@BrownsByBrad) September 26, 2021
This is just one year after running out to an 11-0 perfect record during the 2020 NFL season.
Then, things changed.
Ben Roethlisberger, who came out firing in early 2020, started to look very vulnerable.
He even rested in Week 17 as the Steelers had already clinched their playoff berth.
In the Wild Card round, the Steelers and Roethlisberger were routed by the Cleveland Browns.
So here we are nine months later, and things are status quo from what happened in January.
What does that mean?
It means the Steelers are “all in” with Roethlisberger in 2021.
He is their proverbial “ride or die” quarterback.
Everyone had to know if Ben Roethlisberger didn't have it this season that this would be destined as a lost year. We can debate Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins all day, but it was always Ben or bust in 2021.
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) September 26, 2021
The signs that this is true have been evident for months.
The Steelers Did Not Draft A Quarterback
Remember all of those esteemed quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Did the Steelers make any effort to get one?
No, they did not.
It would have taken some maneuvering as they selected at the No. 24 position in the first round and Mac Jones, the last of the first-rounders, went at No. 15.
Nothing is impossible, but they did not even attempt to do anything.
For that matter, there were quarterbacks that went beyond the first round.
Guess who drafted a quarterback in the second round?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have a 44-year-old starting quarterback, did.
They selected Kyle Trask with the No. 64 pick in the second round.
The Steelers selected before the Bucs in the second round, at No. 55.
The team selected Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth.
Aaron Rodgers was annoyed when the Green Bay Packers drafted his apparent successor in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Though the Packers handled the process poorly, the team was correct for developing a succession plan.
The Steelers have not actively put together a succession plan post-Roethlisberger.
The Steelers Did Not Sign An Experienced Free Agent Quarterback
Even the Chicago Bears, who are inept at locating franchise quarterbacks, signed Andy Dalton.
They even reportedly went after Russell Wilson by proposing a trade that Pete Carroll denied.
These were young quarterbacks with some playing time and a track record, but the Steelers did not take a look at them.
In January, the Steelers settled on Dwayne Haskins, a 2019 first-round draft pick by the Washington Football Team, who was cut by WFT by the end of the 2020 season.
He is the third-string quarterback behind Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph.
With Big Ben banged up, less than 100%, with a bad line, should the Steelers start Mason Rudolph versus the Bengals?
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) September 21, 2021
It is also worth mentioning that Cam Newton is available.
It is a long season ahead.
It would be premature to say the Steelers and Roethlisberger are a failure.
He is a future Hall-of-Famer.
At 39, he could have a resurgence like he did in 2020.
The team also has a great defense and can contend with him even though he is not the playmaker he once was.
Whatever happens, Roethlisberger will be their quarterback unless he gets severely injured, though he is already playing with a pectoral injury.
Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins? The answer is Ben Roethlisberger. #HereWeGo
— Jordan York (@JordanYorkMusic) September 22, 2021
The team has not made any viable long-term plans at the quarterback position so this is definitely Roethlisberger’s team until he decides to ride off into the sunset.