Steelers stock up, stock down heading into Week 2
The Pittsburgh Steelers capped off a win in their season opener over the Buffalo Bills. It was a hard-fought matchup, as both teams were stifled by excellent defensive play. However, the Steelers came out on top, which is essential in the competitive AFC North division they participate in.
For the Steelers, the defense looked as solid as ever. Offensively, Pittsburgh floundered most of the game. Ben Roethlisberger struggled throughout, and Najee Harris couldn’t find any running room. The offensive line is going to be an issue for the Steelers this year, so hopefully, the coaching staff can make the right adjustments.
Not all was bad, as Pittsburgh’s receiving trio looked solid with their limited opportunities. It’ll be an interesting season for this franchise, as they’ll need Roethlisberger to play at his best if they hope to win. With that said, here are two players whose stock is up and down heading into Week 2.
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Steelers Stock Up, Stock Down
Stock Up: Juju Smith-Schuster
Many viewed Juju Smith-Schuster as the third pass option in the Steelers offense. However, he proved to be one of the most effective players against the Bills. He recorded four receptions for 52 yards, proving to be one of the top pass options in Pittsburgh.
Even so, Smith-Schuster didn’t record a touchdown, which would have separated himself from his teammates as Roethlisberger’s favorite target. The Steelers receiver trio will each have big games throughout the season, but based on his performance in Week 1, Juju’s stock has risen the most.
Look for Juju Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson to feast on underneath routes as Chase Claypool serves as the deep threat. Due to Roethlisberger’s age, the Steelers’ offense might be focusing more on short to intermediate routes when dropping back to pass. This creates a perfect scenario for Smith-Schuster to act as the top wideout in Pittsburgh.
Stock Down: Ben Roethlisberger
Sure, the Steelers got the win, but Big Ben looked putrid throughout most of the game. He recorded just 188 yards through the air for one touchdown off of 32 attempts. Roethlisberger looked more like a liability than an asset against the Bills, as his age seems to be catching up to him.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line is atrocious, so any opposing defense with a decent pass rush is going to bother Ben Roethlisberger. It doesn’t help that he’s basically a statue in the pocket either, as he provides little to no threat to take-off running. Mike Tomlin and the coaching staff will have to draw up quick pass plays to get the ball out of Big Ben’s hands as soon as possible.
If the Steelers run game can improve, they should be able to put a band-aid over Roethlisberger’s lack of throwing abilities. However, the offensive line isn’t good at run blocking either, as Najee Harris also struggled to get things going in his rookie debut.
This is a talented Steelers team, but if Roethlisberger doesn’t figure it out soon, then things could get ugly rather quickly. We’ll see how he does against the Las Vegas Raiders, but for now, things are not looking good for the Steelers veteran quarterback. Pittsburgh might have to rely on the defense throughout the entire 2021 season.