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Inside the locker room: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted Oct 9, 2013

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks about this Sunday's game against the New York Jets.


Did a week off help?
Yeah. It was nice to kind of get away and forget about football for a little bit. Kind of recharge the battery.

Did you have a chance to watch the Jets Monday?
A little bit, until I fell asleep. I watched a really good team go down to a tough place to play against, what I think, is a good Falcons’ team and good Falcons’ offense. The Jets’ defense is very good.

Re: The Jets young defense:
It reminds you a lot of a defense that I’ve played a lot against, ours and the old Baltimore. Mixing things around, showing all kinds of different looks, blitzing, just anything you can draw up. Coach Ryan is a very intelligent defensive coach, and sometimes you look at things and you’re like, “Did he just draw that up, literally on the sidelines?” He’s that good. They’re ranked number-two for a reason.

Are they also a group that can overpower you?
Oh yeah. It’s not just finesse and confusion. I think it is finesse, confusion and power. I think they have a bunch of different things that can get to an offense, and that’s what makes them so talented.

Not a lot of teams put 10-11 defenders across the line of scrimmage. Do you almost welcome that? If they’re going to leave the deep part open, do you sense opportunity there?
If you have time to get it off. That’s the issue you come across when you see a zero-blitz and everyone is up, and everyone is going. It’s not easy. If you can just get a little bit of time and get the ball off, you’re good. But the key is blocking it up and giving yourself just a second of time.

Have you seen anybody else do that?
There are teams that do it. I just don’t think it looks the way that they do it. Teams go zero-blitz. You have to have man on tight ends and on running backs, but they do it almost like a punt block-type looking defense at times. When I say Coach Ryan draws things up, sometimes it’s everyone up on the line bringing it and sometimes he’s got five guys on the line and three guys just a little bit behind them and they’re coming or they’re not coming. It’s a lot of confusion.

Do you look at the standings and think that you are still kind of in this?
Not really. For us, it’s about breaking the season down into quarters and the first quarter is over. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to but we had a bye week. Hopefully we rejuvenate and get ready to go back at it.

Does it make a difference that no one in the division is 4-0 or 5-0?
We know where we’re at and that’s what is more important. We know that we’re behind everybody else and we’re playing catch-up.

Do you worry about guys losing focus when things aren’t going right?
No. I don’t think that guys in this locker room would allow it to happen, and I don’t think that anyone that puts on the black and gold from way back in the day until now has ever allowed it to happen, because it starts at the top with us. From the owners, the coaches and the players, it’s just not the way it happens around here. You always stay focused. You always think you’re in every game and every season until the end.

You seemed to throw the ball pretty well on Monday. Does your finger feel alright?
It hurt a little bit when I threw, but it’s just a finger. I’ve had worse [Laughs].

Ryan Clark said over the weekend that he thought you needed to tone down the improvisation because he thought it was creating too many turnovers and too many sacks. Is that him just trying to say something on ESPN or do you really take something out of that?
I didn’t hear about it. It is what it is. I’m just going to play the game the way that I play it and try not to turn it over.

Do you appreciate a teammate saying that?
That’s the great thing about this country we live in. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and allowed to say what they want. If Ryan feels that way, then that’s fine.

Have you ever been 0-4?
I don’t know. Not that I can remember.

Is this as good as you’ve felt about the offense since before you had all the injuries?
Yeah. You can feel as good as you want about an offense but we’re playing against a real good defense. It’s a big challenge for us. It’s a big test, and we just have to make sure everyone is focused in and ready to go.

Re: Levi Brown:
We’ve only got to see one day with him. It will be interesting to see, as he starts getting in there, to see more of him and what he can do.

Re: Keeping continuity and belief in the offensive line with all the changes:
You just have to trust in the group and the individual. I’ll always have faith in those guys up front, whether it’s wide receivers or linemen. You have to trust with the work that they put in that they’re going to be focused and ready, and that they’re going to give it everything they’ve got, either to protect you or make a play for you.

Re: Importance for you to know who will be starting on the offensive line Sunday:
I think it’s more important for those guys up front, Ramon Foster, or whoever is a left guard or at center. I would like to know before Sunday morning, but you have to have faith in whoever is out there. Whether it’s Kelvin Beachum, Levi, Mike Adams, whoever it is, you have to have faith. And I have that faith in whoever it is.

Isn’t communication a key this week, especially against a blitzing team?
Yes, that’s why I think it’s important for the line and for their communication, to know who they’re blocking, who they’re picking up, who’s down and who’s not. For them, that’s why I say it’s more important for those guys to know.

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