It’s that time of year again. Here are three burning questions for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Has the bell rung for Big Ben?
Ben Roethlisberger is the only member of the top three quarterbacks from the 2004 NFL Draft who is still playing for his original team after Eli Manning called it quits at the end of last season and Philip Rivers joined the Colts.
Roethlisberger suffered an injury in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season. The Steelers were hoping for a big season from their six-time Pro Bowl selection as he was coming off of a year in which he set career-highs in completions, attempts, and passing yards with more than 5,100 yards and 34 touchdowns.
It’s always hard coming back from an injury, but the intensity multiplies when you’re a 38-year-old quarterback. However, he should be fine. He has posted footage of him working out and staying shape. Plus, it’s hard to place doubts in a two-time Super Bowl champion with 16 years of NFL experience.
Is JuJu Smith-Schuster a legitimate No. 1 receiver?
Heading into last season, many expected JuJu Smith-Schuster to have a big season as he debuted in the No. 1 role. In 2018, he totaled over 1,400 yards receiving as the secondary receiver behind Antonio Brown, who left Pittsburgh after the end of that season.
However, once his quarterback went down for the season and he dealt with a nagging knee injury, Smith-Schuster finished with only 552 yards and three touchdowns.
This season, with a healthy Roethlisberger throwing passes to him, the young receiver will have to prove whether or not he’s a No. 1 receiver.
Are they a top-three defensive unit?
One of the better defensive teams in the league calls Pittsburgh home. Their linebacking unit of T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, and Devin Bush is young and smart and seems to be involved in almost every play.
The addition of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins just one season after they drafted him No. 11 overall immediately changed the complexion of the secondary. He went on to finish 2019 with five interceptions; opposing quarterbacks had to pay close attention to where he was on the field.
With a veteran defensive front and the impact players behind it, this defense could prove they are a top-seven unit with a shot at top-five.