Game plan goes through Steelers' Roethlisberger
By Mike Prisuta
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Add "veto power" to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's new responsibilities.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said on Thursday if Roethlisberger doesn't like a particular aspect of the game plan this season, it'll be scrapped in advance of game day -- no questions asked.
"I think it's a smart thing to do," Roethlisberger said. "I think it's done a lot of places, and that's the way it should be done.
"It hasn't been done here."
It will be this season, for Sunday's regular-season opener in Cleveland and beyond.
"We joked last year, we'd talk to 'Whiz' (former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt) and tell him what we (as quarterbacks) liked and didn't like," Roethlisberger said. "And the plays we liked never got called and the plays we didn't like always were called.
"That's the good thing about Bruce. We're able to communicate with each other and not call plays that we don't feel comfortable with."
The Steelers finished 8-8 in 2006 after going 11-5 and winning Super Bowl XL the previous season.
They ranked No. 7 in the NFL in total offense (10th rushing, ninth passing).
Roethlisberger was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in June 2006 and had to undergo an emergency appendectomy just prior to the opener against Miami.
He also suffered a concussion Oct. 22 at Atlanta.
Roethlisberger wound up throwing for more than 3,000 yards for the first time in his career (3,513) but he also threw a career- and NFL-high 23 interceptions.
Whisenhunt went on to become coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
"Whiz and I got along great," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know if it's fair to say (me and Arians) get along better.
"We work together a lot more than Whiz and I did, which I think probably helps. (Arians) has asked me about certain things, what I feel comfortable with, what I don't feel comfortable with, what we want to call, what we don't want to call. If I have an idea, I throw it out to him, and he lets me know if he likes it."
"A lot of things look good to coaches," Arians said. "If a guy doesn't see it on the field and he doesn't like it, it's out. There's no sense calling a play that is cloudy or a guy doesn't like."
Roethlisberger has been involved in offensive planning "since March," Arians said.
Now, the offensive coordinator and quarterback will begin meeting on Fridays about specific situations, such as the Steelers' first 15 plays, third downs and the red zone. Roethlisberger, for the first time, will have the freedom to reject what he doesn't want to run.
"In a heartbeat," Arians said.
The Steelers have assigned Roethlisberger the added responsibility of making changes in the blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage and encouraged him to call audibles this season.
"You don't want to call a play that your quarterback doesn't like or doesn't feel comfortable with," Roethlisberger said. "Then you're just putting yourself in a bad situation.
"I think that's just being a smart coordinator."
What do you guys think of this? Is Ben ready for this? Is this a good move?