GLENDALE, Ariz. - After one preseason series, Ben Roethlisberger declared himself ready to take on the Miami Dolphins in the Steelers' Sept. 7 regular-season opener.
How much playing time Roethlisberger gets in the final three preseason games will be determined, in part, by how much work he and the first-team offense will need to jell as a unit in advance of taking on the Dolphins.
"I feel like I could go right now," Roethlisberger announced after Saturday's 21-13 preseason loss at Arizona. "It's not me; it's how much do we need for the offense to start clicking?
"Last year we didn't score a touchdown in the preseason and people made a big deal out of it. We're just going to go out and try to continue to improve."
One area Cowher would like to see Roethlisberger improve upon in games that don't count involves exposing himself to contact.
Roethlisberger scrambled out of one potential sack and absorbed one during his eight snaps of action, prompting a response from Cowher during and after the game.
"I just told him in the future I would rather him go down at this point where we're at, instead of trying to fight to get free," Cowher said. "You get out there and you don't start thinking about those things, which was good for him.
"It was good for him to get out there and just play. From that perspective, I'm kinda glad we got that out of the way."
Roethlisberger, playing two months to the day after a motorcycle accident forced him onto an operating table for seven hours of facial-reconstructive surgery, countered that self-preservation was on his mind at all times.
"He said, 'Just don't try to do too much,'" Roethlisberger said of Cowher. "I let him know I was trying not to get hit."
Sitting this one out
Wide receiver Isaac West (knee), fullback Branden Joe (hamstring), linebacker Joey Porter (knee), center Chukky Okobi (neck), tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) and wide receiver Hines Ward (hamstring) didn't dress for the Steelers.
Wide receiver Marvin Allen, guard Grayling Love, offensive tackle Nick Hagemann and offensive tackle Brandon Torrey didn't play.
On the Cardinals' roster but not in uniform were quarterback Matt Leinart, fullback James Hodgins, running back Roger Robinson, linebacker Lance Mitchell, linebacker Karlos Dansbury, guard Rolando Cantu, offensive tackle Oliver Ross, defensive tackle Tim Bulman, defensive end Kenny King and defensive end Anton Palepoi.
Quarterback Jeff Otis didn't play.
Arizona's starting lineup included wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, formerly of Pitt, wide receiver Bryant Johnson, formerly of Penn State, and guard Reggie Wells, formerly of Clarion.
Nose tackle Kendrick Clancy joins Ross as a former member of the Steelers cashing checks this season in Arizona.
Former Pitt linebacker Gerald Hayes recorded the Cardinals' only interception, collecting a ball that had been fired too hard by quarterback Shane Boyd and had deflected off the hand of leaping wide receiver Santonio Holmes.