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Inside the Locker Room: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted Sep 18, 2013

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks about the team.


Re: The veterans getting together for a meeting:
It’s not like it’s a magic solution and we are going to have a talk in this meeting, and everything is going to be fixed. It’s more about getting together, coming up with solutions and things that we can bring to the team. I feel like that’s the thing we should do as leaders.

Did you have the meeting yet or is it on the agenda?
It’s going to happen here in the next few minutes.

Are you going to bring some pictures of Joe Greene in?
Maybe [Laughs].

Is 0-2 a bigger deal because of what needs to be said or did it happen more because of the way
you played? Is it more of an attitude thing or execution thing?
I think it’s more of an execution thing. I think everyone has the attitude, and the mindset and mentality that we need to get it done. I just don’t think we got it done, especially on offense. Whether it’s guys just not doing their job or turning the ball over, you can look at a lot of different things and point to a lot of different issues. So, we just need to get those things fixed. It is early in the season. We need to get it turned around quick.

Is this meeting to calm people down or get expectations up?
I think everyone is looking into this way more than it is. We’ve met 3-4 times now. We did it during OTAs, mini-camps, training camp. Really, we said we wanted to meet periodically to talk about the state of the team and where we are. These are things we need to do as leaders and as older guys on this team. I think now is a good time to get together. It’s not a panic-type thing. It’s just a good time for us to get together to talk.

If Heath Miller was to come back this week, what would that mean to you?
He’s the best tight end in the game, so it would mean a lot. He is a leader and a guy that we all depend on in both the run and pass game. We hope that he is able to come back.

Do some of the receivers need to show more preciseness or toughness in their route running?
They aren’t the biggest guys in the world, so it’s easy for defensive backs to hold them, push them and arm-bar them, and they aren’t getting the calls. So it’s tough. They just need to keep fighting through those things. I know they will do that. They take pride in their work, and they work hard at it. We are going to spend some extra time today to make sure we can work through those issues.

Re: Challenge from Chicago’s cornerbacks:
They are big corners, physical. It’s going to be a big challenge. It’s another good defense we play this week. We are going to have to be on our screws and really have to start working now.

Re: Receivers saying they lost the ball in the lights in Cincinnati:
Guys said they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t find the ball.

How can you avoid that during a night game?
I don’t know. I guess you rip down Cincinnati’s stadium and start over, and put new lights up [Smiles].

Do you anticipate that being an issue here?
I don’t. I don’t know if it’s ever really been an issue before. I don’t know if it was the height of the lights [in Cincinnati]. Maybe it wasn’t lights. Maybe they just couldn’t pick up the ball.

Re: Jerricho Cotchery actually pointed up to the lights after a play:
That’s where my assumption came from that it was the lights. That’s probably a question for him. I know one other time I threw one to Antonio Brown. He said he didn’t pick up on the ball right away. He said he couldn’t see me throw it, and he couldn’t pick up on it.

Re: There’s not a lot you can do about that:
No [Smiles]. I don’t have the old Nerf light-up ball anymore.

Is this a must win game?
For us, every game is. I think a win would solve or help heal some wounds that we have right now. It’s still early in the season. It’s a home game. We feel like all home games are must wins.

How often do receivers lobby for the ball or complain to you when they don’t get it?
[Laughs] All the time. Ever since I got here. It’s funny because all us quarterbacks talk when we get a chance. We all talk about different receivers lobbying for balls and how each of them do it. Some do it by gifts. Some do it by talking to you. I think they do it all over the league for as long as they’ve been around.

What’s the nicest gift you’ve received?
I’ve gotten a lot of nice gifts from guys.

Re: Report that Brown and Todd Haley got into it on the sidelines:
I was not [aware of that].

Has Brown approached you about being unhappy with his role on the offense?
I haven’t even talked to him today. We had a bunch of individual meetings. So I don’t know much about what is going on or if he is unhappy, or if there really is a case of that I’m not sure.

Do you think that is a problem or just a form of frustration?
I don’t even know what exactly happened or if there was an issue. From you saying it, I would just assume it was frustration. I don’t foresee it being a bigger problem than that.

What did you see from the tape of the last game?
We didn’t play good enough. The same thing I thought after the game. There were some things here and there, more good things than last week. But not enough to get it done.

Re: After David Paulson fumbled:
I was trying to get up there, because like I said after the game, the thought of anytime you see the ball on the ground, you don’t know what happened. The referees said he was down on the ground, so it was a completed pass. But with these referees you just never know, especially against us. I was trying to get up there. I knew we had some personnel issues. We had Kelvin Beachum in the game, so he would have had to report again. So, I ran up to him and told him to hurry up and report to the official, because I wanted to hurry up and run a play. You just don’t know. By that time we were substituting guys and then Coach Lewis threw the flag. There wasn’t much we could do about it.

You’ve done it before on fourth downs where you call the punt or field goal team off the field so you can make a call on fourth down. Is this something similar, and would you have handled it differently if it came up again?
I probably could have made a bigger issue to get everybody off, but if coaches are sending people on and they aren’t making a big deal about it, then I assume that they know something that I don’t know. We have coaches up in the box that have TVs and can see things. When I was trying to hurry everybody, usually if there is a doubt or if I am waiving people off, the coaches usually let me go. But because they sent people on the field, I took the assumption that they knew something I didn’t know.

Is it realistic to do no-huddle or hurry up more often or do circumstances in those situations dictate that?
A little bit of both. We need to figure out what is best for this offense and what is our best tempo. There are times to go up-tempo, to go no-huddle, two-minute mode, which is faster than no huddle. There are times to slow it down and substitute, and get big personnel in the game. We just have to know when and where those situations are best, and just go with them.

How much of the playbook is open to you when you are calling plays in no-huddle?
When I am calling plays, our whole no-huddle section of the playbook is available. You start running into issues when you start substituting and you put in big packages. When you have 3-4 tight ends in the game and extra tackles, you are really limited in your no-huddle play calling.

Does Felix Jones know enough to help in no-huddle?
Yeah, absolutely. He did a good job this past week picking up the blitzes. If he has questions, he is always quick to ask, which is always what I ask them to do.

Has Markus Wheaton lobbied you in any way? How is he doing?
No. He is doing great. He does not say much anyway. I have to kind of force things out of him, because I am trying to really develop a relationship with him both on and off the field. I think it is important, because I think he is a guy that we can use as a weapon. He’s a smart guy. He has a good understanding of the offense. He doesn’t really make mistakes. If he makes mistakes, it’s not really running the wrong route. It’s more depth here and there, or what we call giving too much flavor at the top of routes, trying to shake too many guys like he is in college. For me, he is more than ready to get in and start doing some stuff for us.

Is it more working him in slowly? Are you surprised he hasn’t been used much to this point?
It is two games. The first game, we had those different packages with Beachum, we lost our center and all that stuff happened. I thought he would be in a little bit more but I think you will start to see him more this week.

How much are you lobbying the higher ups to let you open things up and throw a little more?
For me, I just want to do whatever it takes to win ball games. Whether it’s running or throwing, I just want to get us in the best situations. I go with what our coordinator does. Whatever he does, I am going to try to run it to the best of our ability. I just do what I can to help let him know what I see on the field. If I see that certain passes might work, I try to let him know. Really, I just have to put it in his court to call it or not call it.

Re: Confidence level that this season can be turned around:
I am confident. It’s early. We all know it’s about when you get hot as a team in the season. It’s a little early to start talking about getting hot for a playoff run. Two games in, we have a big one this weekend at home against a really good team. If we can get this one, who knows what it would translate into.

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