Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger acknowledges he lacked leadership in 2018. It’s about time (Steven Senne/Associated Press)

It was a rough 2018 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steel city and perennial AFC North champs missed the playoffs and dealt with a ton of drama along the way. Le’Veon Bell held out the entire season and Antonio Brown essentially quit on the team. Now both are gone. The one holdover is Ben Roethlisberger. Finally, Big Ben took some of the blame.

Roethlisberger acknowledged that he lacked leadership:

“I lacked in leadership,” Roethlisberger said after the team’s first organized team activities session Tuesday. “Because that’s my job as the leader of this team, to get us to the playoffs. I’m gonna need to focus and refocus my energy and time on, how can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?

Roethlisberger, 37, isn’t getting any younger. This window isn’t open much longer. Having said that, I think Big Ben is in for a monster season. Maybe it’s his last big season but it’s going to happen. After months of hearing about Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and team failures…. Big Ben is going to come out firing. I promise you that.

He’s off to a nice start. He took the skill position players on vacation. He’s already at practice and hasn’t skipped OTA’s. Roethlisberger also canceled his normal radio show. Big Ben is locked in. The Steelers will bounce back in 2019.

When I think about what needs to change for the Steelers, I think middle linebacker first. Drafting Devin Bush to replace Ryan Shazier was the most important move of the entire offseason in the AFC North. That puts the Steelers defense back. Now Big Ben needs to do his part with less offensive weapons. He might have fewer weapons but there are a lot fewer distractions now. Today was a big step in the right direction for the Steel City. It’s a big improvement from GM Kevin Colbert calling the rest of the roster a bunch of kids.