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Big Ben's Even Better

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Hostile, May 28, 2006.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Notebook: Bad news, league; Big Ben's even better
    [IMG] May 25, 2006
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
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    [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]Here's something any team not named the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn't want to hear: Ben Roethlisberger is a much better quarterback now than he was last season.

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    Ben Roethlisberger has more experience and more speed at receiver.
    (AP)

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]"I've been very impressed with his offseason," offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "I'm excited by the things I've seen." [/FONT]
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    Entering his third season, coming off a Super Bowl-winning year, Roethlisberger is primed to move into the elite of the league's quarterback ratings. For his first two seasons playing in the Steelers' run-oriented offense, Roethlisberger was a quarterback learning the position.
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    He was raw, yet talented. He made up for his mental shortcomings with his physical ability. We saw him make amazing plays, but we also saw him make some bad ones.
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Whisenhunt said in Roethlisberger's first year, he would read one route and then take off if it wasn't open or force the ball into that spot. Last year, he would read half the field, but instead of forcing passes he learned to throw to the check down. This year, he's reading the entire field, a sign of growth for any young passer. [/FONT]
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    "Because of this we've expanded the things we will do with him," Whisenhunt said.
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Don't expect the Steelers to become a throw-it-first team. That's not the Bill Cowher way. That's not the Steelers way. [/FONT]
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    They will still be a ball-control offense, a team that sets up the pass with the run. But if you remember, they made their magical playoff run last season by opening games using the pass and then coming back with the run when they needed to protect a lead.
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    Roethlisberger's growth made that possible. By the end of 2006, he had become a much more polished player, allowing the game to go more on his right arm and less on the legs of the team's backs.
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    "In the latter part of the season and on into the playoffs, he started trusting and believing in what we were doing more," Whisenhunt said. "He got more confident and you saw what he did."
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    In three playoff games and the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger completed 58 of 93 passes for 803 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. His postseason passer rating was an impressive 101.7, which was better than his regular-season rating of 98.6.
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    Their upset of the Colts is a perfect example of how the Steelers used their quarterback and passing game to dictate tempo early and came back with the run in the second half. Roethlisberger completed 12 of 19 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but threw only five passes, completing two, in the second.
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    The Steelers ran it 42 times that day to 24 passes, but it's how they passed that was the key.
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]The next week in the AFC title game against Denver, he followed much the same script. Roethlisberger completed 13 of 17 for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the first half on his way to a 21-of-29, 275-yard game. [/FONT]
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    "I think he's earned the right to do that," Whisenhunt said. "He's become a lot more efficient. He's better with the timing throws and he checks down better than he did. The natural progression is to let him throw more early in the game. We will not get away from the run game, but I think the formula we had in the playoffs was pretty good."
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    Perfect, in fact. The ideal scenario in my mind for an offense is to dictate tempo with the pass early on, then pound the football late. Teams that simply want to run it first and then pass in desperate times can't win in this league anymore. Defenses are simply too fast.
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    The Steelers were smart enough to realize that, and a lot of that has to do with understanding they have something special in their quarterback.
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    Roethlisberger constantly asks Cowher if he will pass more this season, and Cowher has said "no" time and time again. But it's not the numbers. It's the "how" that matters. And the Steelers seem to have figured that out, a credit to Whisenhunt, one of the bright offensive minds in the league.
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    "We got away from the run at times in the past and that hurt us," Whisenhunt said. "But what we did in the playoffs worked. We didn't get away from the run, but we started with the pass. With our quarterback, you have to give him his chances. He's too good a player for that not to happen."
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    As his mental side catches up with the physical side, which it appears to be doing now, Roethlisberger will be even better.
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    What that means is the Steelers offense will be better, too. They lost receiver Antwaan Randle-El to the Redskins in free-agency and Jerome Bettis retired, but other than that, it's the same offense that will take the field. And don't forget, Bettis wasn't even a starter.
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    The growth of second-year tight end Heath Miller, plus the drafting of rookie Santonio Holmes in the first round, should help offset the loss of Randle-El. Duce Staley will take over Bettis' role of power back.
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    "Not to put any pressure on us, but we will be a better offense," Whisenhunt said. "We have more speed, and Ben is a better player."
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    The latter is the real key. Will an improved Roethlisberger mean gaudy numbers and eye-opening pass totals? Not in Pittsburgh. But it will mean a tougher offense for all those coordinators who have the Steelers on the schedule.
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    They are not only the team to beat in 2006, but also better than they were a year ago. The metamorphosis of a quarterback from role player to star is the reason.
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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica] Around the league [/FONT]
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      [*] The Steelers only had a short look at Holmes during one minicamp because his class at Ohio State has yet to graduate, but they liked what they saw. But the guy who has really caught the eye of the coaches is former Florida State receiver Willie Reid, the team's fourth-round pick. Although many teams considered Reid mostly a return man going into the draft, the Steelers liked him as a receiver as well. So far, he has been a pleasant surprise. "We got a freebie there," Whisenhunt said. Reid came to FSU as a running back but was used mostly as a receiver and return man. He had 91 catches in his career, but had 50 in 2005 in 11 starts. Reid is also an explosive return man, which will help ease the loss of Randle-El, as will the speed of both rookie receivers. Finding a player like Reid is a sharp move. They always seem to have players ready to take over for those who have departed. It's why they remain one of the best organizations in football.
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      [*] The word coming out of Arizona is that former defensive end Calvin Pace, who is now playing strong-side linebacker, is making a nice transition. Pace, a former first-round pick, will help give the Cardinals more in terms of pass rush on third downs. "When he's on the field, we'll be able to do a lot of different things on passing downs," Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson said. "He's done a nice job making the move." With the return to health of defensive end Bert Berry and Chike Okeafor at the other defensive end spot, the Cardinals have some pass-rush ability. That was an issue last year when they were forced to blitz a lot more than they wanted. Wilson led the team with eight sacks, but the hope is the front seven players can provide more of the pressure in 2006.
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      [*] There is growing talk around the league that the health of Raiders owner Al Davis is becoming a concern; he has walked with a cane for some time because of leg ailments. First things first: Let's hope he gets better. The word is the team would be placed into a trust if something happened to Davis, and from there the future is uncertain. That could be why there is growing sentiment that the Raiders could be sold. Sports Illustrated has a story this week indicating former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo would be interested in buying the Raiders. That would be something if it happened.
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    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
      [*] The Colts are planning to start 245-pound defensive end Robert Mathis after using him mainly as a pass rusher the past two seasons. That's risky for a defense that is already on the small side. We know the Colts love speed on defense, but with two ends smaller than 270 pounds, they'd better hope they get ahead in a lot of games and can turn them loose. Mathis insisted to me during an interview last year that he was more than capable of being an every-down end. Now we will find out. But you can bet when opponents get ahead, they will pound the football at the smaller Mathis.
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    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
      [*] The Eagles' trade of receiver Billy McMullen to the Vikings for rookie Hank Baskett, who wasn't even drafted, sends out two messages. One is that McMullen is a bust. The other is that the Eagles have big problems when it comes to drafting receivers. In the past six years, they've also missed on picks for Freddie Mitchell (first), Na Brown (fourth) and Gari Scott (fourth). McMullen was a third-round pick in 2003. The miss on Mitchell set this team back in a big way, while McMullen simply doesn't have the speed to win in the NFL. The Eagles have big hopes for 2005 first-round pick Reggie Brown, a receiver who showed well at the end of last season. But they need more. That's why they took Jason Avant from Michigan in the fourth round this year and followed that up by taking Jeremy Bloom in the fifth. They have to find ways to get better down the field to offset the loss of Terrell Owens. Donovan McNabb needs more options.
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    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
      [*] When the Oakland Raiders used the second overall pick on tackle Robert Gallery in 2003, the talk was he could become the next Tony Boselli, a dominant left tackle. But the Raiders played Gallery at right tackle his first two seasons, and he struggled. "Disappointment" was a word used by some league scouts. New Raiders coach Art Shell, a Hall of Fame left tackle, is moving Gallery to the left side, which is probably his natural position. It will be interesting to see how much better -- if at all -- Gallery plays there this season. This much is certain: He isn't in Boselli's class. With Gallery moving to the left side, Langston Walker, who started at guard last year, will play right tackle. Gallery is the key to this shuffle.
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    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
      [*] You know it's a slow time of the year when whether Reggie Bush can wear jersey No. 5 is a major issue. I'm all for players wearing whatever numbers they want, but is this really that big a deal? So he wears another number. Whatever number he wears will become a top-selling jersey. It's the player, not the number. Don't forget that. Who the heck cares what jersey number a player wears?
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    • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica]
      [*] For those who were shocked to see Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's name mentioned as a potential candidate to fill the NFL commissioner's job, they should be reminded Bush was among the limited partners of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the team came into the league. He had to divest himself of his percentage when he became governor, but he does have NFL ties. Bush's second term as governor ends next January, which doesn't jibe with the NFL's timetable to hire a commissioner. Paul Tagliabue wanted to leave office at the end of July, but he will stay until the league has a new commissioner. The talk now is that the league will have a new commissioner in place before the 2006 regular season opens.
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  2. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Hey Abersonc, I wish I had known the part in blue during our debate. I think it's very relevant that he was looked at for something other than his politics.

    The part in red ought to make you smile.

    Personally I think Jeb ought to have his head examined. NFL Commish would be the best job he ever has.
  3. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I wanted Reid over Green. Al Davis looks like he has BOTH feet in the grave.
    One of the comments about Iowa O linemen is that Ferrentz does such a great job at teaching them fundamentals and techniques is that they do not have much growth potential in the Pros. Steinbach and Gallery show this: they are good NFL players, but do not seem to have the ability to grow as much as was thought. Gallery got a slow start and got moved to RT- I think he will be better at LT- but he will not be a Pace or Bosselli. I think he will peak out about where the Hotel is.
  4. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Bush should consider leaving early to take the Job. That would shut up all those that keep claiming he is going to run for Pres. And it certainly is a LOT easier a position!!!!
  5. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Interesting observation about Ferentz and Iowa O-linemen.
  6. Waffle

    Waffle Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

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    I hope the NFL says NO to Eddie DeBartolo! :cool:
  7. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    Concerning the "upset" Pittsburgh pulled on Indy, the best play big Ben made was his lucky tackle on the fumble by Bettis. Plummer did more to lose the game against Pittsburgh than big Ben did to win it. And who can forget that overwhelming performance in the super bowl when he put up a QB rating of 22. They were not the team to beat last year everything just fell right for them. I hate to say it was a fluke they won the super bowl, but........
  8. CantonBound08

    CantonBound08 Member

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    I'm not saying it was a fluke, but hey, the sun shines on a dog's...nevermind.

    I haven't watched Roethtlisberber very much, so I might be completely off base, but he has never done much to really impress me (other than win). I thought he looked bad in the Super Bowl, and I have never watched a game of his that made me say "Wow, this guy is an unbelievable talent".

    For those of you who have watched him, is he as good as the media builds him up to be? If not, does the system he plays in make him look better than he really is? I think some teams make their playbooks vanilla enough to where it hides a lot of shortcomings. Is this the case here?
  9. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    Isn't that the key though? Was Aikman ever as impressive as Favre or Marino or Young? Ben plays within his team's system and wins. That's the greatest compliment you can give a QB. IMO. It's too easy to focus on stats when winning is all that really matters.
  10. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    Plus the guy has only played 2 seasons.

    I think he has done a great job as a young QB managing the game, and he should get better as an overall qb with experience.

    That said, as an old Cowboy fan that remembers those Pittsburgh superbowl losses all too clearly, I somewhat hope the guy does not get any better and fades away.

    But something tells me the Steelers will be in the super bowl hunt for years to come with him at QB.
  11. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised Prisco didn't say Roethlisberger was far better than Tom Brady.


    Rich..........
  12. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    After pretty much stinking up the SB, he better improve!!!
  13. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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  14. 5Stars

    5Stars Here comes the Sun...

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    Hey, I'd take Big Ben over Bledsoe right now....

    How about you guys? :starspin

    Bledsoe or Big Ben?
  15. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Sure - as young as he is. BUT at this MOMENT- its questionable that he is actually better.
  16. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    That was not a POOR SB- that one STANK UP THE PLACE!!!
  17. superpunk

    superpunk Benched

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    At first glance, I'd take Ben over Bledsoe, in a heartbeat.

    But then again, I don't think either of them can do what the other can.

    Ben is called upon to play within himself, make some plays with his feet, be in a system, and hand the ball off. Attempt 20 passes per game.

    Bledsoe is called upon to sling it, go for the big hit, attempt alot of passes, etc.

    I don't think Bledsoe could exert the control over his game that Ben does, and I'm not sure (although it's entirely possible) that Ben could unleash like that consistently.

    They're both good at what they do, but overall, I'd take Ben, based on age and mobility. Heck of a leader, too.
  18. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    Yet his team won, and would not have gotten there without him.:rolleyes:
  19. Kilyin

    Kilyin Well-Known Member

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    I dunno, I think the referees deserve more credit for the victory than Roethlesberger.

    Seattle got robbed.
  20. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    And what does that have to do with the discussion of what he did in the playoffs up to the super bowl?:rolleyes:

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