Ben Roethlisberger has taken a ton of hits over his NFL career, but the latest blow he received in practice has placed Big Ben into the concussion protocol.
Landry Jones may be in line for increased preseason playing time for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The news that Ben Roethlisberger has formally entered the NFL’s concussion protocol makes it very likely he’s going to miss a preseason appearance or two.
This isn’t a reason for Steelers fan to panic, but it’s definitely not welcome news. Roethlisberger is a quarterback who has historically prided himself on his ability to stand in the pocket and deliver big time throws in the face of pressure. Suffering an injury like this might make him a little more skittish moving forward.
On the other hand, that might be a good thing for Roethlisberger’s longevity in the NFL. The Steelers coaching staff would love to see him take less punishment this season. Mike Tomlin and company understand just how important Big Ben is to the success of their powerful offense. Having weapons like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown is great, but Roethlisberger is the guy who gets them the ball where they need it.
Fortunately for the Steelers, there’s still plenty of time between now and the beginning of the regular season for Roethlisberger to make a comfortable recovery. It’s not as if he’s learning a new offense. Big Ben knows the Pittsburgh playbook like the back of his hand.
His absence should give extra snaps to the developmental quarterbacks on the Pittsburgh roster as well. Jones is a known commodity at the backup position. Joshua Dobbs seems to be out of favor at the moment, but he could benefit from some preseason playing time to boost his stock around the league.
The biggest beneficiary here might be rookie Mason Rudolph. He should be in line to get a lot more practice and preseason reps without Roethlisberger in the mix. It’s not how the Steelers want to integrate him into the first team in a perfect world, but look for the coaching staff to take advantage of this opportunity to accelerate his development.
As long as Roethlisberger experiences a full recovery before Week 1, this shouldn’t be an issue for the Steelers. Frankly, their veteran quarterback might benefit from the extra rest imposed upon him by the league’s protocol.