View Full Version : Big Ben's mantra: No repeat of 2006

09-06-2007, 07:01 AM

Told this promised to be a better season opener for him than last year's, Ben Roethlisberger asked, "Who did we play last year in the opener?"

The Steelers beat Miami with Roethlisberger watching from the sideline as he recovered from an appendectomy. How quickly he forgot.

"Oh," Roethlisberger said, laughing. "I guess it will be a better one, hopefully -- we have a couple of days yet."

Roethlisberger, 25, enters his fourth NFL season determined not to repeat last year in any way, shape or form, from the multiple trauma of his motorcycle accident to his appendectomy to what he said were poor decisions that led to his worst pro season, and an 8-8 record for the defending Super Bowl champions.

He has worked harder and longer hours, he said, and feels more comfortable and confident in a new offense under new coordinator Bruce Arians that puts him more in control.

"Because of the way I thought I played last year and let the guys down, I didn't want that to happen again," Roethlisberger said. "Whether it was working out earlier or being here longer or spending more time up in the meeting room with Bruce, whatever it was, I just felt like I had to put in a lot of extra work."

The rap on Roethlisberger, fair or not, had been that he did not put in enough time at work in his first three seasons. His teammates agree that he has a new work ethic this year.

"I think so," receiver Hines Ward said. "More film study. I really think [Arians] and him are understanding the game, understanding coverage and all that stuff, figuring out different types of defensive schemes and what we're trying to do. I think he has a better understanding of that than he has in the previous years."

The reasons behind Roethlisberger's determination, Ward said, are twofold: He's more mature, and last year's troubles motivated him.

"It's a maturity factor. It's learning, taking the time to put more emphasis on film study. I think every player goes through that.

"Last year, of course, it wasn't the year he wanted to have. It makes you come back and say what more can I do to work on my game to get me back? You're always trying to figure out ways you can kind of re-establish yourself and find ways to get better, and I think Ben has done a tremendous job of doing that."

Ward isn't the only one who has noticed.

"You can't help notice the more control he's in, not just developing as a quarterback or whatnot but also the control they've given him over the offense," guard Alan Faneca said. "He's more in charge of things out there."

"He's just more focused on what's going on," guard Kendall Simmons said. "He's trying to get to a level of being an elite quarterback, those guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

"He's doing the things he's capable of doing. He has all the ability in the world. I see him now the way he's running the offense, making calls, seeing blitzes and doing things like that."

Said coach Mike Tomlin: "He's fallen below his standards of expectations with some of the things that have happened. He's faced a great deal of adversity. He's had a great deal of success. I think it's all part of the process of going through a career and developing. He's a very talented guy. He's very smart and a football junky. I expect big things from him."

Giving Roethlisberger more control in the offense is no small matter. Arians wants him alone to call changes in the blocking protections that always were part of the line's duties.

"It's up to him to make all those changes," Faneca said. "We can't do it on our own."

Now it's all up to the quarterback, and he says he's up to it.

"I feel I know more what guys are doing," Roethlisberger said. "I'm able to kind of get guys in positions, even in the no-huddle call offenses and call the plays and stuff. I definitely feel better out there. I think the guys feel more comfortable with me now more than ever."

Truly, it is Big Ben's offense now, and "you can't make mistakes back there," Simmons noted. "You're the guy who can win or lose a game. It's all on his back, and he's doing a good job of it from what I've seen."

One of the big things we wanted to see this offseason was Ben working hard and being committed to offseason workouts and preparing for the new seasonl. He's done that and so far all indications are that he can have a banner year for us. All he's got to do is keep the interceptions to a minimum and let his playmakers help him and we'll be fine.

09-06-2007, 10:06 AM
Big Ben will be ready! The fact that he has acknowledged what he must work on , and is taking the proper steps to improve shows how much he has matured . He seems driven this year to prove last year was a fluke.
and it was.

09-06-2007, 10:11 AM
Of course this work ethic is what we want to hear! I know everyone keeps talking about how much he's matured, and it sounds as though he has. I think he actually looks younger... just a more refreshed, relaxed appearance. I'm anxious to see him prove himself....(especially to Teemont!) lol

09-06-2007, 10:14 AM
In all honesty, I think last year was a fluke. He has seemed very committed this offseason to improving, and as long as our OL holds up for him and gives him time, he will do great. He's healthy and focused now!

09-06-2007, 11:41 AM
I'm still a little concerned myself... The only pre-season game that I got to see I wasn't to impressed with Big Ben at all. I saw him trying to place the ball in an exact location, and in order to that he was guiding the ball way to much and lofting it when he should just fire it down field... Hopefully it was just my imagination! :)

09-06-2007, 11:56 AM
With everything there are drawbacks - with him concentrating so much on calling plays, protections, etc. - will he tend to become overconfident in his playmaking ability. If he stays within himself and uses his playmakers the results should be stellar.

black an gold 4 life
09-06-2007, 11:57 AM
i think ben needed what happen 2 him last year 2 happen, he was getting 2 cocky he admitted it himself, last year hopefully has humbled him an put his franchise career n proper perspective,the only thing i'm concern with is his arm strength, his deep balls still r wobbly, i would like 2 c better thrown deep balls, an c him make better decisions with the ball instead of taking loses like an sack when he should throw it out of bounds,or take the sack instead of throwing an int an putting the defense n an bad position, but all n all i believe that putting him an position like he was n college will only benefit us i'm excited 2 c ben run the no huddle more as well as the hurry up offense which is what he has done an great job of running n college, plus with the defense we have man i can't wait like i been saying all off season if we have no marjor injuries pittsburgh will b 12-4 with an sixth superbowl trophy sooooooooo HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09-06-2007, 04:59 PM
I'm still a little concerned myself... The only pre-season game that I got to see I wasn't to impressed with Big Ben at all. I saw him trying to place the ball in an exact location, and in order to that he was guiding the ball way to much and lofting it when he should just fire it down field... Hopefully it was just my imagination! :)

Overall he played well in the preseason and seemed to be relaxed and looking to make a play without forcing it. There were times yes where he did force it or make a dumb decision but overall he looked much better in preseason 07 then he did in 1/2 of the games in 06.

He still has a long way to go of course but overall Im cautiously optimistic myself.