The Pittsburgh Steelers are rumored to be headed toward a quarterback controversy, with Michael Vick’s uneven play leading to tension within the team and the possibility that the Steelers could hurry Ben Roethlisberger back to the field.
Roethlisberger injured his knee in a September 27 win over the St. Louis Rams. Though the prognosis initially looked grim, with the possibility Ben would be out for the year, it turned out to be an MCL sprain and bone bruise that will keep him out for several weeks.
In his absence, veteran Michael Vick has taken over and led the team to a 1-1 record, with a loss to the then-winless Baltimore Ravens and a last-second victory over the two-win San Diego Chargers.
Vick has thrown for just 227 yards total through two games, with two touchdowns and an interception. But the drop off from Roethlisberger has been sharp, especially for a team built on the strength of what many consider to be the league’s top offense.
The uneven play has rumors of tension in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room, and that may be starting to bubble over, the Sporting News noted. This week, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown spoke out, making it clear that he was frustrated with the team’s offensive struggles.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 14, 2015
Brown just snapped his 35-game regular-season streak of having at least five catches and at least 50 yards. In the last two games, Brown actually has just eight catches for 87 yards.
“I didn’t think I got the ball enough,” he said about his Monday night performance, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Brown said specifically that Michael Vick needs to open up the offense more.
“Mike Vick’s out there and I think he’s playing conservative to make sure we get the win. He’s not going to take too many shots,” Brown said. “As long as we win. I want to get the ball and help the team. Some things are out of my control. I’m still up there on that chart.”
Brown added that Vick appears to be afraid of testing the double teams that the receiver regularly sees.
“I think [Vick] wants to get me the ball, he’s trying to get me the ball it’s just he’s new out there,” he said. “I think Mike Vick looks over [pre-snap] and sees me doubled and says ‘ooh, I can’t go there.'”
That has led to some rumors that the Pittsburgh Steelers may hurry Roethlisberger back from injury.
There is a chance Ben Roethlisberger could be back soon anyway. Reports this week indicated that he was back on the practice field, participating in a limited basis in his first action since the knee injury.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, “Roethlisberger, who missed the past two games with an MCL sprain and bone bruise, threw some passes to his receivers in 7-on-7 drills. Roethlisberger said his rehabilitation is progressing well. He said he is able to throw fine and move straight forward. He said the biggest obstacle before returning is being able to move well enough to protect his knee.”
Roethlisberger said he doesn’t have any problem walking or stepping and throwing, but it is still difficult to make subtle movements in the pocket, which he would need to be able to do to avoid the pass rush. But Ben Roethlisberger is likely still out for this week, reports indicate.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 14, 2015
While it appears his rehab will still take longer, Roethlisberger’s progress was good news for Antonio Brown.
“I still think he has a little ways to go,” Brown said. “But he’s definitely showing signs of coming back.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers rumors regarding Michael Vick could grow if the gap continues to widen in the AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals are off to a 5-0 start, and even a few more losses by the Steelers could start to put the division out of reach.
[Picture by Donald Miralle/Getty Images]