He’s simply magic: There was a point last season when Ben Roethlisberger uttered the words, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”
As we all have learned, the words couldn’t be further from the truth.
Roethlisberger proved time and time again last year that yes, he certainly still has it, and entering his 15th season in the NFL, he just keeps on shining.
“I am telling you, No. 7 is magical,” said Ramon Foster. “He is a Hall of Fame quarterback. Every organization doesn’t have those. We are very, very lucky.
“Ben is the guy. He is a gamer. Whether he is playing pool, whether he is shooting basketballs in the garbage can. I think our offense starts and ends with him. To have us all collectively up front with a general like him behind us, the sky is the limit for us.”
Maurkice Pouncey, an offensive captain along with Roethlisberger, knows how good the team has it with him as their quarterback.
“The things he does, the way he operates himself, the way he throws the football,” said Pouncey. “You don’t appreciate it enough when you are playing. When we are all said and done, and sitting at the house and all the younger guys are playing, we know we had the opportunity to play with one of the best ever.”
If there is one player who has benefitted the most from Roethlisberger’s talents it’s Antonio Brown, and he is thankful to have him as his quarterback.
“Mentally physically, spiritually, he is gifted in all three phases,” said Brown. “Physically there is nothing he can’t do, nothing he hasn’t seen, nothing he hasn’t faced. He is the general. He has been doing it for 15 years. He is a Hall of Fame player. There is no one else better playing.”
Lining up: While the offensive line loves to sing Roethlisberger’s praises, others are singing the praises of the line.
“It’s extremely valuable to have a core offensive line that has been together for numerous years, have great camaraderie together and is the focal point of our offense,” said Brown.
That camaraderie is something that has developed over the years with the core group of the line, who have been through many a battle together.
“It’s insane,” said Roosevelt Nix. “You can’t really measure the value of that camaraderie or that team feeling with our offensive line. It’s a beautiful thing and well respected.
“I just think our offense works really well together. We do a lot of great things. The offensive line, tight ends, everybody. I think we just work well and gel together.”
Getting defensive: T.J. Watt is back on the practice field for the Steelers, and the young linebacker is loving what he is seeing from the defensive unit.
“I like how we are flying around right now,” said Watt. “That is one of the things I love about playing defense, being able to fly around, have all 11 hats to the ball and just having fun. If you are not having fun, you are not going to be out there giving your best effort and everything. When we’re all on it, we’re a pretty exciting defense.”
Watt said a point of emphasis for the defense this offseason was working on communication, and he can definitely see an improvement.
“I think it’s getting more and more comfortable with the unit,” said Watt. “Getting more and more comfortable with the guys out there. I think we’re really good, we’re really deep at all positions and we’re all really good at communicating, not just in the back end with the safeties, but in the front end with the front seven.”
Cameron Heyward, the team’s defensive captain, also likes what he sees from the defense and is excited to embark on the regular season with the unit.
“I love our group. Defense. Offense. Special teams. Especially my ‘D’,” said Heyward. “I like where we are. I like that we are an underrated bunch. I think a lot of growth has gone through a lot of different guys. Whether it’s (Stephon) Tuitt, or (Javon) Hargrave, or (Daniel) McCullers up front. And Bud (Dupree) and T.J. have another year under their belt. I think Artie (Burns) is going to be a heck of a player this year. As well as SD (Sean Davis) in a different position. You get Jon Bostic in there with Vince (Williams). Vince had a really great year for us last year. You expect everybody to build upon that, but not rely on that. We understand nothing is guaranteed, but we can take a lot of steps this year.
“I am motivated for the season. I have fuel for this year. It’s a new year. New team, new chance to reach our goals and aspirations.”
He said it:
Stephon Tuitt on facing Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley:
“We just want to worry about us. We are just going to do what we are going to do. We know they are going to have some good calls on their end. It’s our job to stop them.”
Heyward on facing Haley:
“It’s going to fun. I hope he yells. I’ve heard him yell a bunch. I hope I hear him on Sunday.”