By Teresa Varley
Ben Roethlisberger doesn't like to think of the Steelers as a running team. He doesn't like to think of them as a passing team either. What he does consider the offense to be is a strong mix of both.
"I see us being a balanced offense," said Roethlisberger. "That's what I have always said we are. We are the Steelers so we are supposed to run the ball, but we have some great wide receivers, great tight ends, the offensive line can pass block as well. If you ask me we are a balanced offense."
The running game has always been the bread and butter of the offense, something that started back in the 1970s and hasn't diminished. But Roethlisberger thinks that things are changing.
"I always say you have to keep up with the trends, keep up with the times, and that is evolving into a passing offense league-wide," said Roethlisberger. "People have talked about the Steelers being a run because we want to be physical you assume that means running game. That means a lot of different things.
"I guess if you talk all the way back to the 70s and we've been a grind it, pound it team. We're not that 70s team. We're our own identity. We're our own team and that includes a lot of no-huddle stuff."
He isn't the only one talking balance. Wide receiver Hines Ward agrees that the team needs to mix up the run and pass, but still sees the Steelers as a running team and knows they have to improve on the performance in the opener against the Titans when they gained just 36 yards on the ground.
"Our whole goal is to be balanced," said Ward. "If we are a balanced offense with the skill guys we have we will be fine. We have two great running backs in Willie Parker and Rashard (Mendenhall). We are not going to shy away from those guys. We are going to try and rectify our running game because that's who we are. That's always been our motto. It's hard to be a physical team passing the ball all of the time.
"At the same time if we are not getting things done in the run game, we have to make plays in the passing game. We showed that. We are not going to shy away from who we have been. We are going to keep trying it and trying it. If we can 't have success with it we are going to see if we can make plays in the passing game to offset it."
Center Justin Hartwig is among those who are not worried about the Steelers running game, comfortable in his belief that the bad day against the Titans is easily fixable.
"We need to eliminate the little things," said Hartwig. "All of our runs that weren't successful against Tennessee its one little thing here or there that is easily correctable. We are not throwing anything out the window. We know what we are capable of doing. We just need to execute it. We need to be a little sharper this week."
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons returned to practice on Wednesday, but only in a limited role. Timmons is still hampered by his injured left ankle. Wide receiver Limas Sweed injured his foot in practice, but no update was given on his status for Sunday's game. Safety Tyrone Carter, who is replacing the injured Troy Polamalu, was excused from practice for personal reasons. Ward and defensive end Aaron Smith were both given the day off, a regular Wednesday practice.