Not that it’s the biggest news story in the world (certainly not as big as his potentially leaving the team as a free agent following the 2015 season), but Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Tuesdayo as being “upset” that his team didn’t provide him with some potentially awesome offensive weapons in the first couple of rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Being more savvy than people give him credit for, Roethlisberger sort of deflected his apparent disappointment by blaming the media-hype that allowed him to get all caught-up in thinking Pittsburgh would go get him a talented target (or two), earlier in the draft than it actually did.
Here’s the quote from the 11 year veteran, courtesy of the Trib:
“I got caught up in doing what I always say not to do, and that’s listen to the media. (The Steelers) obviously have their agenda, the things they want, and they got two guys that they felt can help this team.”
The two guys Roethlisberger was referring to are third round compensatory pick, running back Dri Archer and fourth round pick, wide receiver Martavis Bryant.
It was a nice way to subtly hold his tongue a bit, but was it media-hype that led Roethlisberger to believe his team would do what it could to improve a receiving corps that lost Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery over the past two offseasons, or was it the front office, particularly gm Kevin Colbert?
The Trib article also mentioned the fact that Colbert said, back in January, the team needed to give its franchise quarterback players that could make him excel.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to get very angry with what the Steelers did in Rounds 1 and 2, by grabbing linebacker Ryan Shazier and defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt (defense is certainly a real need), but to say the team’s need of a receiver was all hyped up by the media is kind of absurd.
If Roethlsiberger wants to be angry about such a situation, he certainly has that right, and I wouldn’t hold it against him.
He’s about as vital to the team’s immediate future as anyone, including the coach and gm, and he should be able to voice his opinions on what concerns him.
This isn’t to say the Steelers SHOULD have grabbed a receiver, and that, even if they did, said receiver would have gone on to have a productive rookie year (believe me, I get about as annoyed as anyone when fans and experts talk in “absolutes” about a draft pick before he plays a single down in the NFL). But, right now, when it comes to potential wide receiver and tight end passing targets, Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and a lot of question marks.
In addition to Archer and Bryant, there’s Derek Moye, he of two career catches, who is currently listed on the official team depth chart as the No. 2 receiver.
Moye’s listing on the depth chart is probably temporary, as there is great optimism that second year man Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh’s third round pick in 2013, will be able to step in and at least fill the shoes of Sanders. That’s a nice thought, but it’s foolish not to mention Wheaton’s six catches during his rookie year. Were those numbers the result of injuries? Yes, but that doesn’t make Wheaton any less of a question mark.
Behind Wheaton are two free agent pick ups—Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey—who will be looking to fill out the depth chart.
Truth be told, if just one of those two guys makes the team and emerges to take Cotchery’s place, that will be a nice development.
Finally, while Roethlisberger isn’t a gm or scout and shouldn’t have the final say (or maybe any say) in who the Steelers draft, his concern over who they drafted had less to do with media-hype, and more to do with reality.