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Skip Bayless Thinks Steelers Great Ben Roethlisberger Is Inferring The Team Misses Him

Things have changed for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past month. Instead of sitting at 9-4 with a likely inclusion into the postseason, two consecutive losses have the team staring at 7-6. While the playoffs are still within reach, the schedule gets a bit tougher over the last month of the season. Amidst the recent slide, critics have gotten louder and louder.

Several people around the league have questioned Mike Tomlin and how things have been handled lately. Former plays have chimed in, from Ryan Clark to Trai Essex. Legendary quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did as well, and he questioned if the “Steeler Way” still exists. Skip Bayless of Fox Sports’ Undisputed believes that Roethlisberger’s recent comments was just him saying that the team misses him under center.

“I think Ben is saying, between the lines here, he’s trying to say, ‘They miss me. They don’t have me anymore on offense because they don’t understand what I did. I was the Steeler Way.’ I also think he’s saying between the lines, ‘I miss it because I haven’t really found anything else to do with my life right now…’ He’s saying, ‘The tradition is dying because I’m not playing anymore.’ That’s my deeper, sort of psychological view of Ben from a distance.

We’re still just two years removed from Roethlisberger’s playing days, so it would be a natural feeling for him to feel this way. He spent 18 years in the NFL, all of which were spent in Pittsburgh. Back in Roethlisberger’s final season in 2021, it was also Matt Canada’s first season as offensive coordinator. The offense was all over the place and ironically, the unit did vastly better when Roethlisberger was running things in the hurry-up offense.

Fast forward two years, and the offense is in a similar rut that led to the dismissal of Canada in the middle of the season. Much has been made of the “Steeler Way” recently and how things have changed in Pittsburgh. That’s what happens when your team begins to lose games, people just find things to talk about. There’s no doubt that they’ve had more drama surrounding the team this year than usual though.

Has Steelers’ Lack Of Leadership Led To Recent Slide?

To be clear, former players have pointed out that the defense has clear leadership in the trio of superstars (Cam Heyward, TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick). On the offensive side of the ball though, it’s a youthful bunch. Najee Harris and Kenny Pickett have been captains in their early careers, but they don’t provide leadership like some of the veterans do. Even the veterans on the offensive side of the ball, like Mason Cole and Allen Robinson, are still relatively new to Pittsburgh.

Someone needs to step up in the leadership department, particularly as wideouts Diontae Johnson and George Pickens cause a stir seemingly every other week. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reported that Robinson is doing his best to provide mentorship to both Johnson and Pickens. As Roethlisberger pointed out, those kind of actions would not have happened in the locker room just a few years ago.

Now we know how guys like Antonio Brown and others stayed in check for so long, as the Steelers had the right core of veteran leaders. It’s on Tomlin to right the ship and he will get the chance to do just that on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. One thing is clear though: since the retirement of Roethlisberger, the offense has lacked clear leadership.

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