The big question heading into the opening week of the 2006 season is how the Pittsburgh Steelers will adjust to the loss of Ben Roethlisberger to an appendectomy. One line of thought is that Bill Cowher and Ken Whisenhunt will rein in the vertical passing game that Roethlisberger excelled in last year, and lean much more on their running game.
The Steelers insist their game plan won't change much. This isn't the first time Pittsburgh has had to face this issue (Roethlisberger missed four games last year due to injuries), so I thought it would be interesting to see how the Steelers adjusted their game plan last year.
Let's start by reviewing Roethlisberger's passing metrics by route depth from the 2005 season: