As the Steelers prepare to close out the preseason on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is pleased with what he has seen from the offense so far. Roethlisberger weighed in on the progress the offense has made, as well as several other topics.
-- Roethlisberger likes the looks of the offense, especially the balance that they have in the passing and ground game, and the way that balance played out in the preseason.
"I think we've shown that we've been able to do some no-huddle, goal line and short-yardage," said Roethlisberger. "We ran the ball and threw the ball. So I think we are at a good place."
-- There is no doubt Roethlisberger is in complete control of the offense in his 12th season, but he doesn't look at it as being 'his' offense. "I feel like this is our offense," said Roethlisberger, showing his true leadership.
-- The team will be without suspended wide receiver Martavis Bryant for the first four games of the season, but Roethlisberger has confidence in veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey to step up and accept the challenge.
"I knew it was coming, so we've been working with Darrius Heyward-Bey," said Roethlisberger. "He is playing with a lot of confidence. We have confidence in him. He is one of the guys that went down to Georgia with us to work out. We've built that confidence and trust in each other. I think he will step up and we will be just fine."
-- Another player that will be missing on opening day is center Maurkice Pouncey, who suffered an ankle injury that will keep him sidelined. While the Pro Bowl center will be missed, Roethlisberger is confident in both Cody Wallace and Doug Legursky to handle things.
"They are two guys that I've taken a lot of snaps from," said Roethlisberger. "Cody played quite a bit in previous years when Pouncey was down or if he had to step in for whatever reason. I have total comfort in him and his understanding of the offense, and his relationship and cohesiveness with the other guys around him. Doug was here before. We took a couple of snaps out there and it felt like an old glove."
-- The Steelers were forced to go for two against the Buffalo Bills last week because of the injury to kicker Garrett Hartley, but it has become more commonplace this preseason for teams to attempt the two point conversion after the extra point was moved back. Roethlisberger isn't sure how that's going to play out going into the regular season, but is ready for whatever is asked.
"We will see what happens," said Roethlisberger. "I don't know if it's just a preseason thing or a regular season thing. That will be something where we formulate a plan as we go into each week, and we will see what we need to do."