The Pittsburgh Steelers went 1-3 last season after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from injuries to his arm and chest. Late-game interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals paved the way to losses which sunk the Steelers' playoff chances.
"Sometimes, certain passes just weren't right. I didn't trust myself to get enough zip on it to throw it out there. I tried to guide it too much instead of just throw it," Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But that's making excuses ... I'll be better, health-wise."
Roethlisberger was having an excellent season before the injuries. The Steelers wanted to help him avoid more hits and he was playing smart football overall during a 6-3 start to the year. Roethlisberger said he was getting healthier as the season ended and was able to start working out earlier than usual this offseason.
Even with wide receiver Mike Wallace and some other veterans likely set to leave town, Roethlisberger echoes what Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told Around The League at the NFL Scouting Combine: They don't see the Steelers as a rebuilding team.
"I don't want to say it's a transition phase because I feel like I'm still here and ready to rock and roll. I feel healthier, better. I feel like I'm in my prime and ready to play great football," Roethlisberger said. "And I feel that we've got guys around here who feel the same way."
We tend to agree. As long as Roethlisberger is healthy, Mike Tomlin is the coach and Kevin Colbert is the GM, we expect the Steelers to contend every season.