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Hearing from Ben Roethlisberger

Posted Aug 16, 2013


Training camp is almost over. What do you think of the offense and the improvements so far?
Just every day, you try to make improvements, from doing better jobs to not dropping passes and blocking schemes. You see mistakes on day one and day two, and as long as you don’t see the same mistake twice that is improvement.

You have a young offensive line. Is that a challenge for you?
I don’t think that they are that young, truthfully. Maurkice Pouncey has been in the league for a while, Ramon Foster has been in the league for a while and Marcus Gilbert has been here for a couple years now. David DeCastro and Mike Adams are obviously the two younger guys but they are both second-year guys, and I’m excited for that group. They are really gelling and meshing together, and I can’t wait to see how it goes with them.

Re: Will Johnson:
Will is a special kind of back because he can block, he can catch and he can kind of play a tight end type of role. It is neat to see his improvement and his growth. We are excited about being able to use him this year a lot more.

Did you cringe when both running backs went down 15 minutes apart from each other at practice?
Well, you never like to see anyone get hurt. Usually it is the guys in front of me that make me cringe a little more than the guys that are behind me. I know that they will be fine. I’m not really sure what is going on with Le’Veon Bell, but I don’t think it is anything too serious from what I understand.

You told us in the spring that you changed some things with your workouts and offseason things. How do you feel?
My arm feels a lot stronger. I can get the ball down the field better to the receivers and Coach Tomlin had said the same thing. To me, that is what I thought was most important. My arm got strong and stayed strong.

The last game, the average of your passes that went past the line of scrimmage was five yards. You threw a 20-yarder to Antonio Brown. Is that a preview of things to come?
That was intentional. We really wanted to do that against a 4-3 type defense. We wanted to work on our screen games and our short, underneath-type passes. The one to Antonio was more of a conversion route, he wasn’t supposed to go that deep, and it was a conversion-type of thing. It was more game plan than anything. I still think that they will be weapons for us by throwing the short ball. But like I said, that particular game was more about game planning.

So in general, the last few years, the short stuff sets up the deep stuff?
That is the hope, and running the ball sets up the play action. That is the game of football. There are so many things that set up other things and that is why it is a game of chess between coordinators, usually, and then the players have to execute it. Whether it is coverages or blitzes, you have to be prepared to makes adjustments on the run and try to fool the other team.

When talking to other quarterbacks or even other doctors and your experience when talking about your arm and its strength, what do you think the leading strength is supposed to be in a NFL quarterback?
I don’t know. I guess it depends on how they work out, how their body is and if they are healthy. For me, it is just about – obviously with the injury last year, the shoulder and chest area, I wanted to get my arm strength up and just get stronger. I lifted weights, I was out kayaking and just doing different things like that, which are untraditional as to which you would expect. Receivers and coaches have said the velocity on my passes has gone up, so I guess that is a good thing.

Kayaking?
Yes.

It worked to toughen up your arm?
It worked everything. Have you ever done it?

Yeah, it hurts like hell [Laughs].
There you go [Laughs].

Are there any issues with your knee?
No, it actually feels really good. Obviously standing on it a lot and running on it can wear you down a little bit but no setbacks and nothing negative.

What have you seen from Antonio? What do you expect from him?
The sky is the limit. He can be as good as he wants to be. I have seen growth in him and improvements, and that is what we want to see. He has come along as a number-one guy.

Re: Your relationship with Todd has been sufficiently investigated:
[Laughs] Yes, and it’s not much different than it was last year, except the reports are a lot different than they were. It is as good as it has been, and I think that anyone that watches can see that.

Re: No one talks about Coach LeBeau and his signal caller (Larry Foote) not getting along:
[Laughs] I think he [LeBeau] has been here such a long time, and his defense hasn’t changed since he has been here. It is funny because I was talking to him about that the other day, as of how often he changes defenses and he said, “Very rarely.” So that is a nice thing. I share a suite with Brett Keisel. I tell him that it must be nice to never have to learn anything new. He kind of just shakes his head and says, “Yeah.” It is well documented about Todd and I but we have a great relationship, and I think it will show this year.

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