Well it sure doesn't take some people long at all. Ken Wisenhunt has only been a head coach for a little over a month and now he is talking about his old team, the Steelers, like its a tell all masterpiece. So you think Big Ben was affected by everything that happened to him in the offseason. Why this guy is a football coach, I will never know, maybe he should try to find the cure for AID's or something, he's pretty smart. The only problem with what he said, he was only partially right. There were more things then motorcycles and concussions that led to the demise of Big Ben this year.
#1. All the health issues - Yea, Yea, Big Ben is a Big Idiot. You are a premeir QB in the NFL, you just won the Super Bowl in your second season, then you decide to go out and ride a motorcycle, without a helmet and wreck. Yes, he almost died. Yes he had many fractures to his face. There's really no way to tell how hard of a hit he took to the head either. Honestly it was probably equal to a few concussions. Not good at all. Lump all that in with a concussion at Atlanta (which if you look at the hit, is sort of a dirty hit and nobody got fined, GO FIGURE), the appendix surgery right before the opener, and the rushing him back to play the 2nd game of the year vs. the Jaguars. I am not denying that these health issues didn't have a big affect on Big Ben and the Steelers success, cause they did. Prior to this season,Ben looked comfortable in the pocket no matter what, he moved with ease. He had happy feet all year.
#2. The Offensive Line - This is a big issue. The offensive line didn't even play average this year, even though many believe they played great. Many consider that Willie Parker's success is because the line played well. This is not true at all. Willie Parker played this year much like Barry Sanders played most his career. Barry had the gift of making his own holes and making his own yards. Willie did a lot of the same this season. The line was constantly collapsing, and not giving Ben time to make his reads. If you check the bad seasons the Steelers had during the Cowher era, it's can be proven, the O Line did horrible in the losing seasons, whether it was injury or inexperience. This year was a tough excuse. Many wonder why Russ Grimm didn't get the Head Coaching position when it seemed like he was a lock, well could it be because he REALLY didn't do a good job last year coaching the line???? I am just throwing that out there.
#3. The Absence of a Typical Steelers Running Back - Oh you may ask what I mean by this? Willie Parker, Amos Zeroue, and Eric Pegram all fit this description. These guys are gamebreakers, there's no doubt. Willie had an awesome season, but really look what he does and what the Steelers offense needs. Parker can break off TD's on any carry if he zigs or zags and finds or makes some holes. That's the great about him, the bad about him is he has quite a few carries with no gain or with losses. The typical Steelers runningback (Jerome Bettis, Bam Morris, Barry Foster, Franco Harris) they very rarely ever got stopped for losses. They were bulls and usually got there 2 to 3 yards per carry. The first 2 seasons, Ben faced a lot of 2nd and 7's and 3rd and 5's. This year there were a lot of 3rd and 10+ yards. Defenses feasted on this. They knew he had to throw down the field and that's one of the big reasons he threw so many INT's.
#4 Hines Can't Do Everything - Hines Ward is going to get covered, when he is the only one catching the ball consistently. This team didn't miss a beat when Burress left 2 seasons ago. The Randal El loss was crucial to Ben's success. Some of the trickery was gone, and one of Ben's most reliable targets too. Heath Miller could have been a weapon, but he somehow wasn't involved in the gameplan much. Santonio Holmes was starting to hit his stride near the end of the season. Cedrick Wilson had moments but he seems to drop the big passes, and Nate Washington seemed to run the wrong routes at times. Hines went down for a couple games and that really crippled Ben cause that was the one person on offense he had confidence in.
#5 Bill Cowher - Cowher is a great coach. He will coach again and I am sure he will be successful. This year just didn't seem like him. The passion wasn't there and his mind jsut didn't seem in football. I think he came back to try to repeat, but I honestly think he considered leaving after winning the Super Bowl. Wisenhunt came back after the Raiders wanted him last year, I think he knew Cowher was going to leave. Cowher just wasn't there this year. Some of the decisions he made were baffling. He continued to let Holmes return punts and kicks even though he consistently fumbled. He also played Ben after he received his concussion against the Falcons. Many would consider sitting him for the season after all that had happened. The gameplans were very basic, and very predictable at times. There was no heart in the two games against the Ravens. Many players were dancing and drawing unnecessary penalties. Cowher seemed to have no control over this team. Ben's once biggest supporter wasn't in charge of the asylum anymore.
Now the Steelers drafted Big Ben three years ago, and he is supposed to be the franchise quarterback. Bubby Brister had better protection in his time with the Steelers then Ben did this season. Pittsburgh is very tough on QB's, ask Kordell. Big Ben can and should bounce back this season. The receivers should be better, the offense should be new and less predictable, and there's going to be a new coach with some passion again. Don't blame Ben's injuries on everything Ken, you had your part in the losses too, you after all, did have control of the offense.