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Inside The Locker Room: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks about this Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Re: The Vikings defense:
They are really good. A lot like last week’s team, they are opportunistic and ball-searching. If the defensive line isn’t getting pressure, they’re getting their hands up in the air, they’re batting them down. Similar to last week, as rushers go by, they’re trying to strip at balls. So, very similar to last week. A good test for us.

How does Jared Allen look on film?
Good, as he always has. He’s a good pass-rusher, a high-motor guy, high-energy and our tackles will have their work cut out for them. But I think they’re ready for it.

Is it too early in the season to call this a must-win?
Every one is a must win for us, but we’d like to get a win before we go into the bye week. Might as well try and leave the country and try something.

Are you excited to get Le’Veon Bell back this week?
Yeah, any time we can get weapons back on our offense we’re excited for it. We are just excited to see what he can do because no one really knows. No one has seen him in game action. Obviously, we’ve seen some great things at training camp, practice and preseason, but that’s different. Even in the preseason, he didn’t get a lot of snaps. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to bring.

How do you keep this like a regular road game? Could it be a distraction at all?
I talked to Minnesota’s media and they asked me if I would have rather gone over on Monday when Minnesota went or Thursday when we’re going, and I don’t know. I’ve been over there a couple times. I know the jet lag does get you. It’s a wasted day when you get over there because you’re so exhausted. But I know Coach wants to treat this as a business trip, so that’s why we’re going over and trying to take care of business.

What are the fans like over there? Is it like soccer-crazy almost?
I’ve heard that during games they are a little soccer crazy – the horns, the thunder sticks, just kind of making noise all the time. Not necessarily situational noise, just noise. But when I went over there I did some fan forums with some of the Steelers’ fans. There is Steelers Nation UK over there, so I got to meet them. They’re passionate. They know their stuff. I wouldn’t say they’re as knowledgeable as everyone over here because they still have a little rugby and soccer on their mind, but they genuinely are passionate for the Steelers and for NFL football over there.

You mentioned after the game that you hurried your throw to Jerricho Cotchery because of the pressure. Is that happening a lot? Are you starting to force the ball or react to negative situations that your offense is put in?
I don’t think so. I think it was just that situation. It was third-and-eight, it was middle-to-longer and the route that Jerricho runs is typically a little bit shorter than that. So, he’s got to push his depth a little more because he wants to get to the sticks. We had a guy come free. I could have held it a little bit longer and made it a lot easier on him. I don’t feel like there’s any pressing going on or that I’m trying to make-up for anything else on offense.

When you struggle like this, for you personally, where do you draw the line between feeling you have to do too much, and maybe feeling like you can’t possibly do enough?
That was part of my frustration after the game on Monday and Tuesday. I don’t feel like I’m pressing. I don’t feel like I’m trying to do too much. I know I’ve done that. At the end of last year, I really felt like I was pressing too much and trying to do too much and put too much on my shoulders. I don’t feel like I’ve done that this year, and that’s why I’m so frustrated that things haven’t turned out the way that I’ve wanted them to. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and not trying to overcorrect anything, be even better and eliminate all these things because I think it takes you out of your own element, your own game plan. So, I’m just going to keep doing what I do and be smart with the ball.

Do you expect the tackle rotation to continue? How does that impact what you guys are trying to do?
Honestly, I have no idea what they’re going to do. I think someone asked me after the game if I even knew if they were rotating at first, and I didn’t because I saw Beachum in there and I wondered if someone got hurt. Then, I saw him next to me in the huddle, then across from me in the huddle. You have faith in everybody that is in there because if you worry about who is in there – are they a rookie? Are they not a normal guy? That takes you out of your element. Like I just said, I have to focus on what I have to do.

Is there anything you can change in terms of ball security, or were they just good plays?
No, I just think they were good plays. I looked at them, I watched it again and the first one he got out as I was bringing it to my body. He just made a good play. They’re going to happen. Just have to make sure I hold onto it.

You talked on your radio show yesterday about your linemen believing in themselves more and playing with some attitude. When you say attitude, do you mean more confidence, with more nastiness, both?
Yes, just go out and play. Be tough, be nasty. If you have to get a penalty because you’re going to be nasty, a holding penalty, or you’re going to choke someone out on a run play – I don’t think that’s always a bad thing to get a penalty every once in a while because you’re playing tough and nasty, as compared to not getting any penalties and just playing passive. It’s a fine line. I know that the offensive line coach probably didn’t want to hear me say that, but I just want them to have the confidence to go out and play the way that I know that they can, the way that they know they can.

That was before the Chicago game?
Yeah, just briefly I talked to them before the Chicago game.

Re: Offensive line trying to find their way without Maurkice Pouncey, since he was such a tone-setter:
It’s who is going to step up for him. We lose a guy like Pouncey and it’s not easy to lose that guy as a leader. It’s who is going to step up and kind of lead that group. I think they’re all doing a good job. I think the Chicago game they did a good job. They were pretty good out there. We’ll just have to keep trying to get better.

Are fumbles any more bothersome to you than interceptions?
Yeah, probably a little bit, just because picks are kind of what a quarterback does. You throw the ball so much that it’s just going to happen. For me, when they get it out on a sack or whatever it is, that bothers me because I feel like I can do better to control that.

Does Le’Veon Bell give you some options in the passing game?
I hope so. He wouldn’t have been brought here if he wasn’t an all-around back. He’s more than just a guy that is going to run the ball. We’re hoping we can get him in the screen game and even out in the open field. We’ll see how much and what we’re going to do with him.

Re: Your comments about Bell on your show yesterday generated some fan response and people were wondering if you were challenging him or knocking him:
About what? What part?

About you don’t know what you have because some days he practices hard and some days he doesn’t.
I just said that as – was that the one where I compared him to Heath?

Yeah.
Oh gosh, yeah, that’s more just me knowing Heath. I meant that as a compliment to Heath and just saying that I know Heath, and I’ve been around Heath for long time. He’s the second-oldest guy on the offense after me and Jerricho. It was more just about me saying that I know Heath, and I just don’t know Le’Veon well enough yet to know. Can he play through pain? How much pain can he play through? I just don’t know him well enough. That’s all that was meant by those comments.

He said it was a fair assessment anyways.
That’s nice of him [Laughs]. I didn’t even know that it created – I’ll go say something to him and see if it hurt his feelings, but I don’t think it would have. Like I said, it was more of just a compliment to Heath and knowing Heath and a lack of knowing that guy. Next year, I’ll probably be able to talk about him better because I know him one year more.

David Johnson is known mostly as a blocker, but last game he was able to get downfield. Is that something that he can do more of, or is he just kind of taking some of the things Heath normally does?
No, he can normally do that because I think he can lure guys into thinking he’s just a blocker. The plays we had him in were fake blocking plays and then he’d sneak down the field. It was good stuff. I was glad to see him get involved vertically down the field.

 

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