Ben Roethlisberger has big expectations next year

Ben Roethlisberger faced a crossroads in his career two years ago, as the Steelers asked him to transition from physical marvel to cerebral quarterback.

To Roethlisberger's credit, he embraced the change, flourishing in Todd Haley's offense which allows him to make better pre-snap reads and get the ball out of his hands faster.

The result has been a historically prolific aerial attack for stretches of the past two seasons.

"I feel like I'm playing my best football," Roethlisberger said this week, via "That's a big credit to the guys around me."

The Steelers boast the NFL's most dynamic wide receiver corps, with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton stresses defenses at every level. The improvement in pass protection has gone overlooked, however, as offensive line coach Mike Munchak masterminded the lowest sack rate (1.66 per game) of Roethlisberger's career.

Roethlisberger has led the NFL in passing yards per game in each of the past two seasons. Judging by his passer rating (94.5) and TD-to-INT ratio (21:16), one might reach the conclusion that Roethlisberger was merely a mediocre quarterback in 2015.

The reality is Roethlisberger passed better than ever, relentlessly attacking downfield while leading the NFL in plays of 40-plus yards and finishing second in yards per attempt (8.4).

By December, he became a football litmus test. Anyone doubting his prowess as a top-tier quarterback wasn't watching the games.

With playmaking tailbacks Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams returning to join the league's most dangerous wide receiver trio, Roethlisberger should be a trendy preseason pick for MVP honors next summer.

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