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Inside the locker room: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted Dec 11, 2013

Roethlisberger talks about staying motivated and more.

Coach Tomlin talked about the progress he’s seen over the last nine weeks. Even though they haven’t all been wins, when you look at the offense from September to now do you think you guys are better than you were three months ago?
Absolutely. I think the numbers speak for themselves. I think we’re getting better every week. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win the game, but offensively our goal is to get better and we’ve done that.

How frustrating has it been that those numbers haven’t translated to victories?
Very.

Where do you see the improvement?
I think sacks have gone down, turnovers have gone down and points have gone up.

Re: Doing it with a rotating line:
Absolutely. Guys have stepped up and done a great job.

What do you need to do in terms of either finishing a few more drives or finishing a game better than the Miami game?
We want to score every time we get the ball. That’s our goal, so we need to put up more points.

There are not a lot of rushing yards, but are you using the pass a little bit more as a part of the running games?
Yeah, a lot of screens and quick throws. You call it run game alternatives. So, yeah, we’re still kind of doing those things even though the rush numbers aren’t there.

When you guys consider running the ball, do you consider that part of the run game then?
Yeah, a lot of our run plays have quick passes off of it. If the run doesn’t look good, I rise up and throw the ball quickly. There are a lot of different ways to kind of run the ball, if you will.

It’s kind of the basic philosophy of the West Coast offense.
A lot of teams are going to stack the box and stop the run. If you can get the ball in a receiver or a tight end’s hands quickly and they can get four to five yards, then you count that as a good run play.

There’s no way, though, that this resembles a West Coast offense.
I don’t think this is a West Coast offense. I’ve never been in a West Coast system, but I don’t think this a West Coast offense.

How would you assess the running game understanding that there are yards that are considered passing yards that aren’t rush yards? You’re numbers aren’t good, but is it progressing?
Our offense is getting better, and that’s what our number one goal, is to get better – obviously our number one goal is to win, but we need to and have gotten better. Numbers can be deceiving. I think Le’Veon [Bell] has done a great job as well as the other backs. The line has done a good job of opening holes for them when it’s there.

Coach Tomlin had said it’s kind of been like necessity is the mother of invention for Cincinnati. Since they’ve lost Geno Atkins, they’ve started using James Harrison a lot of different ways and their defense has changed accordingly and they’ve created some new stuff. Have you seen that since the last time you played them?
Yes.

How has it been effective?
They’re still winning and James is doing a lot of good things. They’ve still got a lot of players that are making plays for them.

Now that the playoffs are very bleak, what are the goals for this team the last few weeks?
Play hard and win football games.

Is it easy to keep the guys motivated?
Yeah. I’m motivated to win. I’d assume you’d have to ask everybody else in here what their motivation is, but I’m sure that will get taken out of context, too. I’m motivated to play as hard as I can. I’m sure everyone else is.

Can this offense keep progressing into next season and become the runaway kind of offense that really has never been here?
I hope so. Like I said, we’ve seen improvements and we’ve gotten better every week. I think we’ve got a lot of pieces in place that can make that next step. I think the cohesiveness that we have on offense is a good thing and hopefully it can translate into these last couple games and then into the offseason.

You’ve never had a losing season at any level, right?
Not that I can remember.

You said you’d have to ask everybody else what their motivation is, but for you that’s a sense of pride, I would imagine.
That’s part of it. Yeah, absolutely. We’ve got three games to get to .500.

Is it one of those things where you look back on the season you just sort of scratch your head to figure out why things haven’t worked?
I’m not going to look back yet. We’re still looking forward. There are three games left and this one is the most important. Maybe in the offseason we’ll look back and scratch our head.

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