NFL Network analyst Ike Taylor joined the latest episode of The Jim Rome Podcast and discussed the struggles of his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Taylor spent 12 seasons in Pittsburgh, 11 of them with Ben Roethlisberger, winning two Super Bowls together. Taylor has watched Roethlisberger play a lot of football, but never struggle like he has thus far in 2017.
“This is my first time really see Ben struggle consistently like this. I’ve never seen it,” Taylor said. “Ben might have a game here or a game there, as far as like struggling. But he would bounce back two or three games later and throw for 300 or 400 yards. Right now, Seven is just struggling right now. And I think this is the first time in his career where he’s struggled like this.”
Taylor knows the feeling, having been through on-field struggles himself. And he knows that it’s not easy to get out of a funk like the one Roethlisberger’s in, but believes the Steelers captain will grind through it and return to his consistent high level of play.
“Just knowing Ben, being the competitor he is, he is going to fight his way out of this,” Taylor said. “But it’s just for me, looking at it from a distance, this is the first time I have seen Ben struggle like this consistently. It happens. I went through it. I did two years of struggling… I played like eight games where I couldn’t do anything right. But I had to fight my way out of it. And I think that’s what Ben is going to do.”
As ugly as it’s been at times for the Steelers, Taylor warned fans about too much of an overreaction. Pittsburgh is still tied for the NFC North lead with Baltimore and the season is only five games in.
“Honestly, they’re still 3-2,” Taylor said. “It just looks bad now, and I know he’s frustrated because he wants to play better, but there’s going to be seasons like this. I mean it’s coming at the tail-end of his career, and for him to struggle like this is a first, but he just has to fight his way out of this.”
As for Roethlisberger’s comments after his five-interception performance, Taylor doesn’t put much weight behind the Pro Bowl quarterback questioning if he still has it. He just wanted to make sure that Roethlisberger understood the importance of being 100 percent committed.
“He’s just got to be ten toes in. You have to be all the way in. One thing about football, you can’t have one foot in retirement and the other foot wanting to play football. You have to be ten toes in,” Taylor said. “So Ben just has to figure that out on his own. But he’s going to walk in that locker room now and weeks to come and play football, so he’s going to get his mind right. “It’s just right now I think he’s highly frustrated.”
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