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'He's done a great job taking care of the ball'

Ben Roethlisberger has put even more of an emphasis on taking care of the football this season.

He has the Steelers' defense, in part, to thank for it.

"The defense was having fun at my expense in OTAs when I haven't thrown a ball in forever," Roethlisberger explained. "They were counting how many interceptions they were getting so it kind of upset me a little bit.

"I wanted to prove to them I wouldn't throw it to them if I actually cared about practices, which I do in training camp and don't in OTAs."

Roethlisberger cared about interceptions on a daily basis at Saint Vincent College.

"I don't know if he threw an interception in Latrobe," head coach Mike Tomlin offered on Tuesday.

"I didn't," Roethlisberger confirmed today.

He knows because he kept score.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears.

"I was in OTAs and minicamp and I kept seeing Coach Lake (defensive backs coach Carnell) and (player engagement coordinator) Terry Cousin and some of the DBs putting these fingers up, 'we got interceptions,'" Roethlisberger continued. "And those are days, obviously, that I don't really care about being on my Ps and Qs and being the best I can be.

"It upset me enough that I came to training camp and kept track of my own touchdowns."

Roethlisberger has thrown for four touchdowns and one interception in the Steelers' season-opening victories over Cleveland and Minnesota. His passer rating is 99.9.

"He's just done a great job taking care of the ball," Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger has been exhibiting a renewed commitment to doing so ever since he reported for training camp and acknowledged, "A big thing for me is turnovers, not turning the ball over.

"Just really focusing on not turning the ball over, I think that's important," he stressed again today. "That's always one of our goals and my goal especially, not throwing interceptions."

If the defense has had an indirect hand in making that happen, that's as it should be in Roethlisberger's estimation.

"I'd like to think the offense has helped the defense grow and get better, just like the defense, when I first got here helped me be better and helped our offense become better," he said. "I think that's the ebb and flow of a football team.

"Hopefully, we've helped make them better by giving them all kinds of looks and letting them go up against 'ABs' and Heath Millers and Le'Veon Bells and now Martavis Bryant. I'd hope going against this line and myself every day helps make them better."

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