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Would the Steelers Be Better Without Ben Roethlisberger?

It's now the question the Pittsburgh Steelers have to ask themselves.

It's the question on everyone's mind right now. After three straight losses and a last ride in jeopardy of being his worst, would the Pittsburgh Steelers be better off this season if they benched Ben Roethlisberger? 

Now, let's start by saying this - the Steelers have a long-standing history of respecting their veterans. It takes a lot for them to pull someone, fire a coach, or really anything to embarrass a member of their team who's been around long enough. 

That being said, Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season, and if he plans on making this his first, he's putting a lot of jobs - including his own - in jeopardy just to save face with a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Let's start on fourth down. Last weekend, we watched Roethlisberger dish a pass to Najee Harris in the flat on fourth and goal that resulted in a -1 yard gain and turnover on downs. The Steelers went on to lose that game.

This weekend, we watched Roethlisberger dish a pass to Harris in the flat on fourth and four that resulted in a -1 yard gain. The Steelers went on to lose the game. 

Last week, Roethlisberger told media on Wednesday that he "didn't remember" the fourth and goal play, so he couldn't address it. Maybe he really did because when the team ran it again, no one could believe they just watched the same play. 

Big Ben said this after the game: 

"We had a few of them tonight. I'd hate to give you an answer without knowing exactly what happened, what the play call was or what specifically it was. It could be any of the factors. I'm not really sure, sorry." 

Chances are he forgets by his media availability on Wednesday. 

Then, there's the case of the overthrown footballs. Roethlisberger missed a wide-open JuJu Smith-Schuster twice throughout the ball game, one which would've resulted in a touchdown. 

"I think both of those two plays: the one in the middle of the field and then the one getting ready to score," Smith-Schuster said after the game. "You just never know what the outcome would be. Maybe you put seven points on the board, you get your team in better position to run the ball in. Whether you catch a deep ball and go for 80 yards and put points on the board. There are so many different possibilities you could say, but I just know that the momentum of playing here would've changed for offense, defense, special teams."

No one knows what was said on the sideline after Smith-Schuster threw his tablet off the ground, but the interpretations are not kind - and aimed pretty directly at Roethlisberger.

So, would it be better without Roethlisberger? Well, that's a tough answer. The backup options would start with Mason Rudolph and end with Dwayne Haskins. From what their time as NFL starters has shown us, things wouldn't get much better. However, the things around them might get better.

For one, it feels like Roethlisberger wants to win but doesn't trust his body to take the blows it used to. With a bad offensive line, that leads to underneath throws and fourth down passes to Harris. 

Rudolph might not be the best quarterback, but chances are he's trained to look at his options before dishing it out. He'd likely find Pat Freiermuth wide open on the backside. 

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On the overthrows, history suggests that wouldn't get too much better. But maybe it wouldn't need to. 

The Steelers are four games into the season, and it's been a very minimal Matt Canada gameplan. At this point, it feels like an extended version of Randy Fichtner's offense, and that's likely due to the comfortability Roethlisberger has with the plays. 

Rudolph doesn't get that say. If Canada put his offense together - which would include a lot of 12 personnel, pre-snap motion and shorter throws that revolve around the receivers having space with the ball in their hands - Rudolph would have to run it. He'd likely be more comfortable adapting to it as well. 

That's the part of this question that leaves you thinking, "yes." If the Steelers put Rudolph in tomorrow, they'd finally make the transition from the old team to the new one. Maybe with a less talented quarterback than they hoped for, but it would still finish the switch. 

There would be no more having Roethlisberger run the show. No more putting the ball in the quarterback's hands to win the game. All it would be was Canada's best effort to win ballgames, and truthfully, there should be a strong belief it could work. 

When the Steelers have executed Canada's gameplan, or ran a Canada-style no-huddle, their drives have almost always resulted in touchdowns. When they're running whatever the other option is, they've nearly vanished offensively. 

To go all the way back to the top, chances are the Steelers don't have it in them to do that to Roethlisberger. You let Hall of Fame quarterbacks finish their careers in the spotlight, even if it's a negative one. 

But to answer the question, maybe the Steelers would be better off without Big Ben under center.

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