Steel City wake-up: morning links
Ben Roethlisberger is in the midst of the best statistical season of his career, but the numbers the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback has put up have not translated into victories, and the Steelers need to win their final three games just to finish with a .500 record for the second season in a row.
The play of Roethlisberger and the way the offense has come together after a slow start bodes well for the future. A team, meanwhile, that has long relied on its defense might lean more on its offense in the coming season as it retools a veteran defensive unit that faces an offseason of change.
Roethlisberger said he will wait for the offseason before he assesses what went wrong in 2013 for the Steelers. As frustrating as losing has been for a quarterback not accustomed to it, Roethlisberger reiterated that he likes where the offense is as well as the direction it is going. And his teammates praised the 10th-year veteran for the way he has been leading it.
One player who could figure prominently in the offense next season is wide receiver Markus Wheaton, especially if Emmanuel Sanders signs elsewhere in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Wheaton has played sparingly in large part because the Steelers have not used a lot of four-wide-receiver sets, but his mentor, Jerricho Cotchery, said the third-round pick has made progress this season.
Wheaton is among a group of rookies who have had varying degrees of success this season as they adjust to the NFL.