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Ben better than ever above the neck

Posted Nov 8, 2017

Roethlisberger on point running the show.

His coach has seen more of a point guard than a gunslinger this season, but Ben Roethlisberger is embracing the change and the way he’s playing the game.

“Absolutely,” Roethlisberger said today. “I really, genuinely don’t know how my stats are, or stack up against other years. But I feel like I’ve been as involved and have had as good of a season maybe between the ears as I have maybe ever.”

Roethlisberger is prepping for the Indianapolis Colts this week with a passer rating of 82.7.

That’s a middle-of-the-road neighborhood between the 51.1 posted by Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer, the last of the 33 quarterbacks listed on the NFL’s weekly stats release, and league-leader Alex Smith of Kansas City’s 113.9.

But the Steelers and Roethlisberger have already beaten Smith and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford on the way to positing a 6-2 record through the season’s first half.

Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner has watched Roethlisberger orchestrate the offense by design along the way.

“We just talked about him being that point guard, trying to get it to the right guy more times than not, in the right place where they can make a play and you have to trust these guys will make those plays,” Fichtner said. “We have enough guys to do that.”

Roethlisberger is on pace to throw 20 touchdown passes, which would be his lowest total since accounting for 17 in 12 games in 2010.

But the role of point guard is as appealing as long as the Steelers are winning games.

It’s also familiar.

“I played point guard in high school, All-American point guard, as I like to say,” Roethlisberger joked. “So I’m used to kind of distributing the ball and getting us in the best play possible. I just do what I can, run-pass check, ‘run right, run left,’ things like that.

“We’re maybe not doing as much no-huddle (offense) but I still feel _ and obviously Randy saying that _ I still feel like there’s a lot on my plate to make sure that I still kind of run this offense, if you will.”

As Roethlisberger has done so, wide receiver Antonio Brown has continued to catch passes, running back Le’Veon Bell has begun to churn out yards and the Steelers have matched the Patriots for the best record in the AFC at the season’s halfway mark.

“You always have to find a way to distributed the ball,” Roethlisberger said. “Now that we have so many weapons, that’s what’s important. It’s not just about the plays. It’s about feeling the game out, getting a feel for the game mid-game, at the beginning of games, making sideline adjustments, talking, communicating. Maybe a guy has a good match-up, being able to get guys the ball that have match-ups, or a guy needing a catch to kinda get into the game.

“Whatever it may be you have to be an extension of the coaching staff, of Coach Randy on the field.”