(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.)
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Experience: 12 seasons
2016 vs. Cowboys:The Steelers resume their inter-conference rivalry with Dallas in Week 10 (Nov. 13) at Heinz Field. It's the 32nd meeting between the franchises, including three Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX). The Cowboys lead the all-time series, 16-15.
What's the Deal: Now 34, Roethlisberger is among the league's most accomplished quarterbacks. The 11th overall pick in the 2004 draft has made four Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowls (2005, 2008) and led the Steelers to a fourth title appearance in 2010 against the Packers at AT&T Stadium. According to Pro Football Reference, Roethlisberger ranks fourth among active quarterbacks in career passing yards (42,995) – but the two championship rings are his most impressive credentials.
Expect This:Roethlisberger has long been a clutch performer in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers have developed into one of the league's most powerful offenses in recent years under offensive coordinator Todd Haley, a former Cowboys assistant. With Roethlisberger leading a talented group that includes wide receiver Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers ranked atop the league last year in total offense (382.5), fourth in passing (256.5) and fourth in rushing (126.0). They also ranked second in total offense in 2014. Pittsburgh will be among the most complete offenses the Cowboys will face all season.
Previous Meetings:Roethlisberger has faced the Cowboys three times in his career and won the first two meetings: in 2004, he threw a pair of touchdowns in his sixth career game; in 2008, he threw the winning touchdown pass with just over two minutes left. In 2008, the Cowboys won in overtime when Brandon Carr intercepted Roethlisberger's pass and returned it to the 1-yard line, setting up Dan Bailey's deciding 21-yard field goal. Roethlisberger's career stat line against Dallas: 62-of-98 (63.3 percent) for 736 yards, 5 touchdowns and an interception.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Doesn't look athletic as a quarterback but will surprise you with his mobility. Outstanding size and strength in the pocket. Tall and sturdy. Hard to bring down in the pocket. Will make accurate throws with defenders hanging on his body.
- Most effective when he can play out of the shotgun. Takes the snap, makes his read, then lets it fly. A master at hitting the receiver on the move. Can be deliberate at times in allowing his man to work open but can unload quickly when needed. Poised under a rush.
- Has good arm strength. Throws the ball well at all levels. Will drop arm angle down to fit the ball into receiver. Has a good feel for touch. Does a nice job of laying the ball over defenders downfield. Accurate.
- Not sudden in his escape but he slides away from pressure well. Has a feel for how to work in the pocket. Efficient on the move. Does an outstanding job of keeping his eye level up and down the field. Able to hang in there and make throws. Not afraid to make the tight throw in coverage.
- Wills his teammates to make plays. Brings out the best in them. Clutch performer and production. Career average of 7.9 yards per completion. If there is a negative to his game, in eight of his 12 seasons, he has thrown double digit interceptions for the year.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.