There are a lot of questions going into the 2013 NFL season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. There has been a tremendous amount of turnover on the roster, and some starting positions are still very much up in the air. But one position that is not in doubt is that of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even with some injuries during his career, Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the league over his nine seasons, and if recent history repeats itself, he should be on deck for an impressive rebound from last year.
If you look back to 2009, Roethlisberger had 15 starts with over 4,300 yards passing and 26 touchdowns. The following year Roethlisberger was only able to get in 12 starts, but he threw for over 1,000 fewer yards and only 17 touchdowns. 2011 was a bounce-back with 16 starts and topping 4,000 yards passing and 20+ touchdowns. And true to form, in 2012 he slipped again, missing three starts, struggling in at least two more and finished the season down to the tune of just over 3,200 yards but 25 touchdowns.
As I look ahead to 2013, I expect to see a huge return to form for Roethlisberger. He will have a young and talented(and hopefully healthy) offensive line, a solid stable of running backs with a diverse skill set, and multiple dynamic players in the passing game. If Roethlisberger can stay on the field for a full 16 starts, I expect something close to 4,400 yards and 25 passing touchdowns. These numbers may seem optimistic, but history has shown Roethlisberger finds a way to follow up a down year with a big one, and the Steelers are going to need a big year from him in order to be successful.