Updated: Sep 27
Ben Roethlisberger had his annual Wednesday press conference at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex this morning. He answered a variety of questions from the media ranging from the offense, to his 17 years in the NFL, whether Chase Claypool is ahead of schedule and playing the Texans this week. Here is a quick run down of the questions and answers from his press conference.
How do you get Eric Ebron more involved? Are you relearning to look for the tight end more because you have not had one like Ebron in a while?
"I think there’s no reason to panic when it comes to how much Ebron is involved or not involved. They’ve done a good job of keeping a close eye on him, and offensively, we haven’t really hit our stride yet. So that’s OK. As long as we are winning football games, that’s the most important thing. I think to me, the coolest thing is you’re seeing Ebron sticking his nose in in running plays. He’s not afraid to block, and he’s blocked probably better than any of us even expected or anticipated. We will get him involved. There’s a lot of guys I would like to get more involved in the offense as we all start getting more comfortable with each other."
What did you see on tape from Sunday?
"Going back and reviewing, I felt from Week 1 to Week 2, my pocket presence and awareness was better. I do feel I got a little lazy with my feet, which then, in turn, translated to a lazy arm. There were some throws that I kind of dropped my elbow, if you will. I don’t want to get too technical, but it became more of a three-quarter release instead of an over the top when I didn’t need to. There are obviously times you have to change your release point. There were too many throws, I felt looking back, that I just have to get my feet working better, and that will then translate, hopefully, to the rest of the body. Then, I won’t be guiding some of the throws. That’s, to me, the biggest thing I’m going to work on today, even though it’s an off day. I’m going to really work on my feet and kind of starting it there with translating the rest of my body."
Is Vance McDonald another guy you want to get more involved, and why haven’t the targets been there for him?
"Yeah, I mean, both tight ends we are keeping a close eye on. Like I said, we just haven’t really hit our stride offensively yet where we have done a ton of no huddle. I think they get involved a lot in the no huddle stuff. We haven’t done a ton of that yet. I also think there have been some plays that have been called for those guys that have just been covered. None of us are panicking. We know how special both of our tight ends are. They make the big plays when we need them. Going back to Ebron, I thought he made a big play down the middle of the field. It kind of came back to him, and he went up high and made a great catch. They’re going to get their balls and their touchdowns I’m sure."
Did you ever think you would be playing this long in the NFL and what do you attribute that to?
"I attribute it to Jesus and just really being blessed. I am so thankful to be in the black and gold 17 years later. Almost half my life, I’ve been here giving Steelers fans everything I have. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else; I wouldn’t want to do it for any other team or any other fans. I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of great football players and talent and teammates. I did take a lot of beating early on. A lot of that was my fault. God made me a bigger man than most quarterbacks, so I think I can take it and I’m just enjoying playing this game."
Is Chase Claypool ahead of where you thought he would be as a rookie that didn’t have a typical offseason?
"I think he’s doing really well considering, like you said, he’s a rookie with no preseason. We got to see early on that he was going to have that success, or we believed he was, because even in the OTAs and minicamps and when we were throwing at Robert Morris in the offseason, you could just see that he was a guy who already knew what he was doing and already had an understanding of the offense. I’ve said it numerous times, he’ll make a mistake, but he won’t do it two times. We are just really happy with his progress and hope that he keeps growing."'
You guys are only throwing the ball 58 percent of the time as opposed to two years ago when you were at 66 percent. Did you think this was going to be a more balanced team this year or is this just how it’s played out?
"I think it has just been the way games have played out. We don’t go into any games saying, “OK, here’s our percentage of run pass.” We go into the game trying to win it and I’ve just been happy at the end of games, we’ve been able to utilize the four-minute offense both games. That is something that we take pride in. When we say we have to run the ball, it doesn’t mean we have to run it more, we have to run it more effectively. And running it in the four-minute offense is effective running."
What is the biggest area of focus against the Texans this week for the offense?
"It’s not going to be easy. I think for them, it starts up front with their pass rush with J.J. Watt and everyone else. They get after the quarterback, and they don’t have to blitz a lot. They can do it with four guys because they are really special. Then with that pass rush, creates issues that you have to try and find windows that they have some ball-hawking secondary guys. This defense is really, really good. They’ve played two really good offenses. Arguably the two best offenses in the league. We are going to have our hands full this week, and we are going to have to try to be as successful as we can."