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  1. I agree. Ben is the constant. Now, these guys are very special talents at their craft as well, but for further anecdotal evidence that “Ben is the constant” is the greater contributor, look to the other side of the equation. Not only did we accomplish successfully the “how do we replace” WRs. But look at those WRs that we asked those questions about, and there is strong evidence that they digressed in subsequent years without that “constant” throwing the ball. I think you take those two factoids together and it gives me much more comfort that, even given that “the WR formerly known as sane” is incredibly talented, we will be fine with the group we have. Just keep the constant constant.

    Good article Joe!

  2. Not exactly aimed at you but I have to put this here because you weren’t the only one to bring up Plaxico Burress. The reason he was not included is because 2004 is the only year he played with Ben (not counting his short-lived “return” for a game or so at the very end of his career).

    He wasn’t Ben’s favorite receiver and maybe not even his second-favorite. Plax only appeared in 11 games in 2004, and only 10 of those were with Roethlisberger at QB. (Furthermore Ben was only the starter in nine of those 10 games.)

    Plax was the third-best WR on the team in receptions that year. Ben completed 69 passes for 846 yards and 4 touchdowns with Hines Ward. He completed 35 for 509 and 2 touchdowns with Antwaan Randle El.

    With Burress he completed 32 for 629 and 5 touchdowns. So while Plax had one more TD than Ward with Ben, Ward had over 200 more yards receiving and 37 more receptions. Ward played in more games, but Burress’ game splits are pretty bad. He only had 3 games with 4 or more catches (6, 5, and 4 on the nose) another 5 games with 3 receptions, and then 2, 2, and 1 catch games… and only one with 100+ yards receiving (he got close with 97 in one other game, otherwise he never had more than 70 the rest of the season).

    This is why I left him off. In addition, he was already there prior to Roethlisberger being drafted too. The main point of the article is that Ben is the one who is making the WRs look good and that in the cases above, the grass wasn’t always greener when Holmes or Wallace didn’t have him as their QB.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Excellent article! Many people seem to be oblivious to how well the Steelers replaced receivers. Let me add one more to the list. While he wasn’t a superstar, Plexico Burress seemed to be Ben’s go-to receiver at the beginning of Ben’s career. When he left Hines Ward became the go-to guy and his production exploded. Again, Ben was the constant.

  4. I’m really excited to see this battle roll out this summer. A couple of those guys I really want to see. The only problem is I want to root for them all. LOL.

    Great read Derek!

  5. “I believe the front office cares very much about their fans, but that area isn’t one they probably lose a lot of sleep over.”

    THIS is exactly correct. I feel certain of it. What I meant to say (I believe you understood, so I guess this is for anyone else reading that misunderstood) is that while I fully believe the FO DOES care about it’s fans, I don’t think they read this (or any other) site, scoouring it, looking for tips and clues about who to draft, who to play, when to play them and when to release them. Haha

    And, I personally believe Tina, that your final paragraph in your response is so spot on, that it’s not possible it could be any more true than you stated. 100%

  6. Dave,
    Sorry, it took me so long to respond. I think you’re probably correct – that at the end of the day, the front office doesn’t care if fans want a certain player to wear a certain number. I believe the front office cares very much about their fans, but that area isn’t one they probably lose a lot of sleep over.

    As for Roethlisberger wanting to give a “shout-out” to Miller by asking Gentry to wear a different number: it’s clear that Gentry did not mind and has respect for Miller (from the time that he spent with Gentry getting ready for the Combine). It’s not the first time Roethlisberger has chosen a jersey number to honor, and it likely won’t be the last. In a way, that actually speaks volumes about how much he respects some of the teammates he’s petitioned for by wearing their jersey at camp, for example.

  7. Great article Tina. At the end of the day I don’t think the Steelers FO cares one bit about what any of us think. Haha.

    As to the Roethlisberger question to Gentry, Zach was VERY clear that Ben asked him in a most professional and non-confrontational manner. The fans that are pissed even by the fact he would ask are the same people that wish Ben weren’t our QB. It was such a silly tiff. Let it go fans. These players (rightfully & thankfully) don’t pay a single lick of attention to us and what we think.

  8. Joe, I figured you’d bring up Landry Jones’ jersey number. Lol

    My favorite number is “8”. Unfortunately, not many popular Steelers players have work it. I didn’t mind Tommy Maddox, but some fans hated him.

    As for numbers I have a hard time NOT associating with a particular player, I’d have to agree with “7” for Roethlisberger, “32” for Franco, and “12” for “Bradshaw”.

    I don’t get hung up on the numbers, but I can honestly see how some just stick with fans.

  9. Would be really difficult for me to see anyone else wearing 7, 36, or 43 in my era of watching anyway (born in ’81).

    Really hard to protect some digits. 92 I thought might get semi-retired, but anything in the 80’s is difficult due to WRs and TEs both wearing them, with WRs also sharing some of the lower digits that other positions (QBs for example) share.

  10. Nice Joe. I think I would have just a couple changes. Though your picks are far more educated. Mine are some combination of what I’m reading/inferring from around the Steelers net. Plus a dash of “I hope so…”

    * I think Diontae Spencer makes a push and either Eli or Switz goes (I think Eli could be outside looking in).
    * I like Sayles over McCullers. McCullers though has some glue in his background because he keeps sticking for some reason.
    * Also, with Scotland-Williamson, you receive an 11th PS guy so you get one more for your PS! 🙂

  11. He’s lost about 15lbs, so I think he’ll have a very good year with the added speed.

  12. I.m excited to see this young man shine this season! I think he will!

  13. If I could like comments here, I’d have thumbed up your comment a few times!

  14. Thank you good sir! That’s what I aimed to do. Everybody kept acting like Ben only became a top QB when Brown got there. So I wanted to show numbers to prove that Brown didn’t alter Ben’s trajectory, Ben altered his

  15. This is a phenomenal breakdown Derek! I love it. You put into numbers & statistics what my gut told me would be true. Now, let’s hope that this is exactly how this plays out. If so, look out! Thanks for the research and insight!

  16. Yeah, I know his battle is uphill, but for some reason, he is a guy I WANT to see succeed! Not sure why, I just like the underdog I guess.

  17. Actually, Hilton played quite a bit last season for being the third guy on the field. He was hurt in Week 4 and scheme was likely more of the issue in Week 17, but otherwise his totals are on the mark all season. (See here:

    As for Brian Allen, he has an uphill battle. He has to compete against Burns, Sutton, and rookie Justin Layne, plus the AAF player they signed (Keith… name escapes me atm!)

  18. Cornerback in the “strengths” group? Man, you are a bold fellow Joe! I don’t disagree, mind you, but there’s probably some flak to be had. I hope Nelson is as good as we hope he is. I hope Hilton rebounds from whatever lost him some playing time at the end of last season. I would love to see (personally) Artie rebound and regain his confidence. And, man if the rest of this group can just be functionally proficient, I like it. Oh, and I REALLY want to see Brian Allen make a defensive contribution starting this year. Something I really like about this young man!

  19. I always try to comment around these parts. I thought your saltiness/snark level was perfect! But, then again, I am fully fluent in English, Sarcasm & Smarta$$ as three primary languages. So, you were singing a song of freedom to me! 🙂