Like it or not, Colin Cowherd is famous for his (often) nonsensical rants on Fox Sports Radio’s The Herd.
This particular tangent would give anyone pause — Ben Roethlisberger fan or not, Pittsburgh Steelers fan or not.
“The sports gods gave [Ben Roethlisberger] everything,” started Cowherd. “Six-six, 250, mobile, huge arm.
He is 39, and it’s over. He peaked at 32, and he was kind of shot at 36-and-a-half. He got the bigger body than [Tom] Brady, the bigger body than Aaron Rogers, but Aaron’s 38 and is the best player in the league. Tom is 44, and many think he’ll win another Super Bowl. And they both have years left. Why? Because Ben got it all. Oh, he’ll make the Hall of Fame. All of them will, but what wasted talent.
[Roethlisberger] didn’t play as smart. He took too many hits. Why would he worry about that? He was the biggest guy in high school, the biggest guy in college, and the biggest guy in the NFL. Why protect yourself? He wasn’t as committed to in the offseason. So he wasn’t in high school or college and just still dominated.
He didn’t adapt. It was always just the deep ball. He never really refined his skills. What you saw early is what his talent gave him.”
What Cowherd fails to mention is Roethlisberger came into a league — and conference — where Tom Brady was unstoppable (and 21 years later, still is).
What Cowherd fails to mention is Rodgers sat behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre for three seasons and wasn’t a starter until age 25 (per Pro Football Reference).
Cowherd closed with: “[Roethlisberger] deserves the Hall of Fame, but my first thought of him will be, I’ve never seen anybody get more gifts, and he left a lot of them squandered.”
Steelers Know Wide Receivers
Colin Cowherd was right about one thing: The Pittsburgh Steelers know how to draft wide receivers. And they’ll need to do it again in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft.
While general manager Kevin Colbert has some misses in his 22 years overseeing the Steelers’ draft, he’s selected some exceptional talent, too. Santonio Holmes (2006), Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown (2010), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017) and Diontae Johnson (2019) are all gems of the Colbert era.
The jury is still out on the last wide receiver Colbert and the Steelers selected. After a stellar rookie campaign, Chase Claypool had a dud of a sophomore season. His 886 yards from scrimmage are on par with the 2021 season (per Pro Football Reference), but he’s only found paydirt once. In 2020, Claypool had 11 touchdowns to his name and was a dynamic receiver. He recently displayed maturity issues that hurt his team and caused unnecessary distractions.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency in March and will likely want a fresh start with his guy Ben Roethlisberger hanging up the cleats.
Diontae Johnson appears primed to take a firm hold of the No. 1 wide receiver role — something the Steelers haven’t really had since Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh in a tizzy before the 2019 regular season.
2 Starters on Reserve/COVID-19 List
Things were looking up on the Steelers Reserve/COVID-19 list front when, on January 5, the team activated six players: Offensive tackle Zach Banner, linebackers Devin Bush and Joe Schobert, defensive back Arthur Maulet, running back Anthony McFarland and defensive end Chris Wormley. Half of them are starters who will need to play important roles for the Steelers to get that final “W” for Roethlisberger.
Then Pittsburgh’s defensive backfield took a hit when cornerback Joe Haden went on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, soon followed by Johnson and rookie center Kendrick Green. The offensive line performed well without Green versus the Browns on January 3, so if he can’t go, all is not lost. Without Johnson, however, expect Roethlisberger to be relying more on Claypool and Ray-Ray McCloud.
With the NFL’s new COVID-19 protocols, Haden, Green and Johnson could return for the regular season finale. But given that the Steelers have to travel to Baltimore on January 8, just two days from now, it’s doubtful that they’ll be in the lineup.