Tag:Ben Roethlisberger
Posted on: December 18, 2008 6:27 am

Progression of a Quarterback

Call me a homer if you will, I’ll accept that title.  I guess, if we’re fans of a team that is on a winning streak, we all are in one way or another.  And we’ve all had to go through listening to the maligning of our respective teams quarterbacks from time to time.  Some times it’s warranted, others not so much.

I remember sitting and listening to how Peyton couldn’t win the big one, or how Tom Brady was only a field general, only as good as the system he was in.  Of course, there were the arguments about how Tom Brady would be much better behind the Colt’s oline.  Put another quarterback on the Steelers team and they’d do just as well (which we know isn’t true).

In reality, a quarterback regardless of how good he is, is only as good as the team he is on.  Kurt Warner would never survive behind the Steelers oline.  But I’m digressing here.  Because as a homer, this blog is a testimony to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  No, seriously.  Over the years, I’ve watched this kid (yes Ben, if you’re young enough to be my son, you’ll always be a “kid”) progress.  There were times I thought he could do no wrong and there were times that I’d want to put him in a corner until he gain some sense. 

While everyone watched the drama over the Philip Rivers/Eli Manning saga in the 03 draft, Bill Cowhers and the Steelers scouting staff quietly picked up a quarterback in the first round, something the Steelers hadn’t done since Terry Bradshaw was drafted.

It wouldn’t be too long before he’d see his first game and from that time on, we’ve watched him progress.  One thing about Ben, it’s his team first.  He’s never been one to care about his numbers, however, I think he secretly enjoys proving his detractors and nay sayers wrong.

In his rookie year, we’ve heard that the Steelers would be lucky to finish 8-8 when Maddox went down.  Ben would go on to have a 13-0 start his first year, taking the Steelers to 15-1 in regular season.  Okay he struggled in the playoffs and would take his first loss in the NFL in the AFCC.  But that year, the only thing that those who doubted him got right was that no rookie quarterback had gotten into and won the Superbowl.  In the off-season he made Jerome Bettis a promise to get him to the SB. 

The next year, due to injuries and a shaky start, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen, but when Ben returned and after a loss to the Colts, in 2005, the Steelers started the run for the wildcard and never looked back.  Some can argue that it was the Steelers running game that got them there, perhaps, but it was Ben’s arm that opened up that running game.  Once defenses backed off, the running game opened up.  While the Steelers offense kept them in it, the Steelers defense methodically did it’s work too.  That year, the Steelers would win the Superbowl.  Okay, maybe Ben didn’t play well, but they had to get there and he was the one that helped them do that.

After a motorcycle accident and an appendectomy at the beginning of the next season, it looked like SB hangover set in, and it did.  However, instead of having a losing season, Cowhers last season, they ended up .500.  It was when Ben finally got healthy that they started winning.  (I’ll rant about this as one of his flaws later).

The Steelers weren’t expected to do much with a rookie head coach coming in the next year.  To top that, there were arguments as to whether Roethlisberger would be a top ranked quarterback, ever.  While Tom Brady and the Patriots were running the gambit for a perfect season, Ben Roethlisberger was taking the Steelers offense to an AFC North title.  Yep, it was the running game, after all, before Willie Parker broke his ankle, he was leading the NFL in rushing yards.  Yet, even with the strong running game, Roethlisberger would end up being 2nd or 3d overall for quarterbacks that year, despite being the most sacked quarterback in the league.

There was one thing that people kept saying about Roethlisberger, that he could only win a game if he was ahead.  If the Steelers had to come from behind to win, it wouldn’t happen.  Guess this year he’s proving them wrong.  Yeah, you may want to say that with no running game, there’s no offense.  I disagree.  A team with no offense isn’t going to be able to control the field, nor be able to come back and tie or win a game, especially against top ranked defenses. 

This year, after losing two games in which the Steelers had the lead in, the Steelers had come back from behind in three of them to win two and tie one.  Can we really say that the Steelers would have lost to the Cowboys in overtime?  Hard to say, Deshea Townsend made that a moot point.  Tony Romo choked?  Well, yeah he did, but he wasn’t the one playing on defense that allowed the Steelers to drive back for a touchdown to tie the game.  Ravens defense changed up, yeah they did, but they were the ones to go into prevent defense…could it be the way that Ben and the wide receivers were driving down the field for 92 yards that caused Rex Ryan to call it that way? 

Yeah, Ben has his problems.  He has an ego that for some reason or another makes it hard for him to sit out a game or two when he’s injured, when there is more then capable backups to substitute for him.  Not like he’s going to lose his starting quarterback slot anytime soon.  Yeah, he holds on to the ball too long at times, but that’s just him wanting to make big plays.  We curse him when he gets sacked, we cheer when he is able to get the big play off.  Yeah, sometimes he doesn’t read the field, but what quarterback is perfect at that? 

But for as much as the offense has struggled in some games, they’re still managing to put up enough points to put themselves in the position for the win.   Despite the lack of a running game, despite an oline, though improved, still struggles.  Those come from behind wins have been on Ben’s arm.  What does it matter if it’s by 1 or 100 points, a win is a win.  And besides, when you have a great defense, do you really need to be putting up 45 points a game anyway?   

And this year, where a lot of quarterbacks have struggled and have become flustered at the end of the game when they're behind, Ben hasn’t done that, at least not since the Colts loss.
Posted on: September 16, 2008 7:42 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2008 3:38 am

Roethlisbergers Shoulder Cause for Concern?

It was announced on Sunday, during the game with the Cleveland Browns that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had suffered a separated shoulder during their season opener with the Texans.  Despite attempts to find out more and with Ben being mum on his injury after the game, we're left to speculate how his shoulder would effect the game.  Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did confirm that Roethlisberger did have a low grade shoulder separation and that Ben would be "sore for a few weeks". 

So should this be cause for concern and just how much would this effect Ben's play?  On this question I could be flippant and say that Ben chews glass for breakfast and walks on fire, but seriously, as with any injury there will be an effect, however, after reading up on what the actual injury really is, I'm less concerned now then I was before.

To find the information, I turned to my favorite source for standard medical information, WEB MD.  

A separated shoulder is basically a tear of one of the ligaments that connect the shoulderblade to the collarbone.  Symptoms include intense pain at the time of the injury, tenderness to the shoulder and/or collarbone, swelling, bruising and in worse cases, a deformed shoulder.  As with any injury, recovery time is based on the seriousness of the injury.  A separated shoulder could take up to six weeks to heal. 

So this information might make us cringe given the six weeks healing time and the injury actually efffecting a ligament, however, remember that it is a low grade shoulder separation, which would probably mean a minor or small tear to the ligament.  Had doctors determined that it was more serious, I doubt that either they or the coach would have approved Roethlisberger to play, given the possibility of it becoming worse.  According to WEB MD, a person may resume normal activity for a separated shoulder once you're able to move your shoulder as freely as the uninjured shoulder and your injured shoulder is as strong as your uninjured one. 

Watching the game on Sunday and Ben's ability to throw as well as he did, I'd say he met those requirements.  At the risk of pulling a Bill Frist and making an uneducated diagnosis via a television set and limited information (not to mention, I do not hold a medical degree), I'm a little more confident now about Ben's ability in the upcoming game with the Eagles.

UPDATE:  According to the PIttsburgh Post Gazette, Mike Tomlin announced that Ben's injury is not a separated shoulder, but an AC sprain. 
Posted on: September 7, 2008 9:36 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2008 9:46 pm

It's Steelers Football Babeee - Week One

A bright day, the sun shining down and in the stands the Terrible Towels were waving high and fast in the city of steel.  The Steelers were facing the Houston Texans for the third time in the history of the young Texas franchise.  The electricity of the day, the season opener at home for the Steelers could be felt by this Steeler’s fan through the very screen of the television as I watched the opening of the game.   By the end of the game, the lyrics from Sweet’s song, "Little Willy" kept playing over and over in my head:

North side, east side
Little Willy, Willy wears the crown, he's the king around town
Dancing, glancing
Willy drives them silly with his star shoe shimmy shuffle down
Way past one, and feeling alright
'Cause with little Willy round they can last all night
Hey down, stay down, stay down down

We had questions going into this game.  Would the Steelers extend their winning streak to six straight games at home for the season opener?  How well will the Steelers o-line line hold up to the likes of Mario Williams?  What factor would Willie Parker’s injury from last year play?  Would there be improvement in the special teams play?  In the end, for this day, the questions were answered.

For those who wondered how well the oline would do without Alan Faneca, that was answered by 138 rushing yards allowed by the Texan’s defense and three touchdown runs by Willie Parker.   There would be no doubt that Chris Kemoetu was more then an adequate replacement for Faneca.  The o-line, for the most part, continued to hit hard, giving protection to Ben Roethlisberger and opening up the rushing lanes for Willie to run.  If one were to ask if there was a weak link on the Steelers oline, it would have to be with Willie Colon.  Hopefully Colon will continue to improve and not miss crucial blocks to help protect Roethlisberger.

Ben Roethlisberger seems to have finally come to full maturity, showing quick release of the ball at times to hit his TE Heath Miller and there was no controversy with taller wide receivers when Ben connected with Hines Ward six times, twice resulting in a touchdown.  If there were any questions about the chemistry between the young quarterback and the veteran wide receiver, it was answered in this game.  At the end, Roethlisberger would have an almost perfect night completing 13 of 14 passes, and has shown that this offense could possibly be a complete, pick your poison offense.

The Steeler defense showed why they were the number one defense from last season and promises to be a hard hitting, topped rank defense again this year.  Troy Polamalu proved that he was still an integral part of this defense, not only with his hard hitting stops in his three unassisted tackles, but showed that he can read the play perfectly when Matt Schaub hit him in the numbers, causing an interception.  One exciting player, LB  Lamar Woodley, made Steelers fans proud with his sack on Schaub, as well as a one handed interception.   However, if you were to ask who was the defensive player for this game, no one could deny it would be pro-bowl linebacker James Harrison with six unassisted tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.  No doubt that the showing of this defense was a great way for Dick LeBeau to start his 50th year in the NFL. 

Also exciting was to watch the speed and the hard hitting defense on the Steelers special teams.  Also considered one of the weaker links in the Steeler’s team, the defensive play of the special teams, yesterday, though they allowed some yardage on punt and kick off returns, the stifled any explosive plays that is possible with the Texans wide receivers.  Jeff Reed was his typical consistent self kicking one field goal and making 5 of 5 of the extra points. 

It wasn’t all Pittsburgh positives though.  Matt Schaub passed for 202 yards, his key receiver, Andre Johnson catching 10 passes for 110 yards, making this duo a viable passing threat in the AFC.  Mario Williams proved why the Texans made him their first one draft choice in 2006.  Williams and the front four played fast and hard against the Pittsburgh’s oline and it payed off twice with two sacks on Roethlisberger, one leading to a forced fumble.  In the end though, Texans just entered hostile terrority where many teams met the same fate on opening day at Heinz Field.

Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau, Bruce Arians and the whole Steelers team played the style of football that we've become use to with this hard hitting team and continues to keep them a dominant force in the AFC and the NFL today.  Welcome to Steelers football. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com