After 5 weeks of the regular season, this year is shaping up to be an injury filled season for the NFL. The Steelers have suffered from injuries as much as anyone has this season, with big names like Ryan Shazier, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Markus Wheaton, and Eli Rogers getting sidelined with injuries at some point.
While team leader and All-Pro quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has not been among them, he thinks he knows why the Steelers are having so many injury problems. In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger pointed to the unusually tough and physical nature of the Steeler’s practice regimen as as the source of their injury woes:
“We have a lot of injuries,” Roethlisberger said on his radio spot on 93.7 The Fan Tuesday. “I think a lot of our stuff stems from we’re one of the most physical football teams in training camp, in practice, you know. We do more hitting than most teams do and more [practices in] pads.”
Roethlisberger pointed out that when the Steelers held a joint practice with the Detroit Lions, the Steelers had already been in pads for two weeks. The Lions had yet to put pads on for practice at all. Of course, the Steelers are currently 4-1 and the Lions are 2-3, so maybe there’s some merit to their methods. But if they keep losing players at the rate they are, they’re looking at a playoff appearance with nothing but rookies on the roster. Roethlisberger was diplomatic enough not to call out his coaches by name, but the message to them seems clear:
“I think sometimes it takes a toll on some guys, you know, hamstrings and quads and guys reinjuring things.”
Roethlisberger did not finger his coaches by name but did offer this:
“We talk about being a physical football team and we are a physical football team, but we also have to take care of our guys.”