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BlitzburghRockCity
02-09-2007, 06:38 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07039/760417-66.stm


Thursday, February 08, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The primary job of the Steelers' new coaching staff? Resurrect the Ben Roethlisberger of 2004 and '05, when he was the best young quarterback in the NFL.

Roethlisberger will have a new center and perhaps as many as three different offensive linemen since last season. What he needs most is the kind of protection even the best of blockers cannot bring him -- one that prevents traffic accidents and emergency surgeries.

"We have an elite quarterback -- or someone who can be elite -- and we need to get him to that level," said Bruce Arians, who was promoted to replace Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator.

It's the most important job that Arians and new quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson have, and it starts in March when the players begin their offseason program.

Roethlisberger has some big shoes to fill -- his own. He broke Dan Marino's rookie records in 2004, when he compiled the best starting record of any quarterback in the game's history by going 13-0. All he did his second season was become the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. His combined passer rating in his first two seasons was a lofty 98.3.

He hit the ground with a thud last year, starting with his June 12 motorcycle accident and continuing with his appendectomy five days before the start of the regular season. His misfortune continued on the field, as he led the NFL with 23 interceptions -- more than his first two seasons combined -- and ranked in the bottom half of the league with a 74.8 passer rating.

The first remedy for what ails Roethlisberger is rest, said Arians, who believes his preseason trauma set the tone for a tough 2006.

"For him to even play after that was amazing. And to play as well as he did [at times], and one thing after the other. He needs to get back to being healthy and relaxed."

After that, Arians and Anderson will work on other procedures with Roethlisberger.

"We want to see him improve from the minute details of footwork all the way through his completion percentage and his touchdown/interception ratio, to get back to where he's one of the three or four elite guys in this league, because he has that ability."

Roethlisberger ranked 19th in the NFL by completing 59.7 percent of his passes last season (compared to 62.9 his first two seasons). He was minus-five in his TD/interception ratio after having a plus-14 in his first two seasons.

Arians and his offensive coaches are updating a playbook that became cumbersome over the past 15 years as six different coordinators added their own particulars to the original. It should help Roethlisberger calling plays and checking out of them.

"We'll streamline things that can come out of his mouth easier, that he can see more pictures with words [rather than] call exotic formations and not know where everybody's at," Arians said.

Now, for the rest of the players on offense.

"I think our personnel is more than adequate," Arians pronounced. "We've built some depth at some spots."

An overhaul could take place in the offensive line, with possibly three new starters -- at center, right guard and right tackle.

A new center will replace the retired Jeff Hartings from among the group of longtime backup Chukky Okobi, 2006 rookie Marvin Philip or starting right guard Kendall Simmons. Chris Kemoeatu will compete to become the starter at right guard and Willie Colon, who started the final two games of last season as a rookie, will compete with Max Starks at right tackle.

Simmons played two games at center for the first time in his life when Okobi was hurt last preseason.

"He looked good," Arians said. "It's an option that I like and I would like to explore more. He's a powerful, fast guy. We've got some guys in here at guard, where the competition will be real good. You just want to get as much competition at every spot as possible and find the five best."

Hartings made the switch from guard with the Detroit Lions to center when he signed with the Steelers in 2001 and replaced the retired Dermontti Dawson.

"Some guys can play with the ball between their legs, and some can't," Arians explained. "Kendall walked in there and looked natural at it. He could step and snap and go; that's the No. 1 hurdle. It's a viable option."

Marvel Smith will remain at left tackle and Alan Faneca at left guard.

"From the center through the right side, there's a lot of competition," Arians said. "We want to build some depth on that left side

BlitzburghRockCity
02-09-2007, 06:41 AM
This competition on the OL is going to be great to follow in camp. All these guys fighting for 3 open spots. May the best guys win whoever they are. I think it's safe to say at this point on our team that nobody is going to unseat Faneca or Marvel.

It seems like at this point, although its way early, that Kendall might have the inside track at Center with Kemoeatu at RG. Starks and Colon should be a great battle to watch.

BlitzburghNation
02-09-2007, 07:52 AM
Great read TG :bigthumb: Great news, I really like what TOMLIN has been saying since he became our new HC :clap: MAN I AM PUMPED FOR 1st THURSDAY OF SEPTEMBER "kickoff" :banana: :tt02: :tt02: :banana:

AZ_Steeler
02-09-2007, 10:04 AM
All these changes are going to be good for the team just because of the redundancy they have become accustomed to under Cowher. These changes are for the best and making this up coming season very exciting especially since we all know what this team is capable of!

BlackGold4vr
02-09-2007, 11:46 AM
I have not heard great things about Bens work ethics! Surely the rest of Steeler nation has heard the same things. Doesn't like to study game films or the playbook. To this point in his career he has strictly relied on his natural God-given talent. Imagine how good he could be if he worked like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning are said to work! Love Big Ben as our franchise QB! Would also love to see him put in the extra work to realize his true potential!

:tt02:

BlitzburghRockCity
02-09-2007, 11:49 AM
I would imagine this new coaching regime and the sub par performance last year will be more than enough motivation for him. Up until 2006 he had a ton of success come at him very quickly, so now it's time to buckle down and work for every single snap, every game, every win.

DIESELMAN
02-09-2007, 12:10 PM
I have not heard great things about Bens work ethics! Surely the rest of Steeler nation has heard the same things. Doesn't like to study game films or the playbook. To this point in his career he has strictly relied on his natural God-given talent. Imagine how good he could be if he worked like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning are said to work! Love Big Ben as our franchise QB! Would also love to see him put in the extra work to realize his true potential!

:tt02:His work ethic definitely needs to change. He had success early in his career which is a luxury not many athletes get to enjoy. He was babied by Cowher and the staff, so I think the whole retooling of the staff was a damn good idea as well as scrapping the 15 year old playbook. Its been said before and its one of the main things that needs to happen on both sides of the ball...Get back to basics and fundamentals. I can't wait for the draft and camp to start, We will have a helluva year!!!!!:tt02:

Steelerlyn
02-09-2007, 01:21 PM
His work ethic definitely needs to change. He had success early in his career which is a luxury not many athletes get to enjoy. He was babied by Cowher and the staff, so I think the whole retooling of the staff was a damn good idea as well as scrapping the 15 year old playbook. Its been said before and its one of the main things that needs to happen on both sides of the ball...Get back to basics and fundamentals. I can't wait for the draft and camp to start, We will have a helluva year!!!!!:tt02:

I am looking forward to the much needed changes.