MMQB: Andy Benoit spent time with Ben Roethlisberger to learn how he’s evolved as a QB

August 23rd, 2016 by

“Ben Roethlisberger is the only player of his era to dominate as both a sandlot-style playmaker and a cerebral field general.” — Andy Benoit.



More from Mr. Benoit’s Big Ben spotlight at MMBQ.com:

3_wsBen Roethlisberger is the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. More precisely, he’s the most misappreciated quarterback. Almost everyone agrees that Roethlisberger is a superstar, but few seem to realize what makes him such a rare talent.

For the longest time, Roethlisberger’s greatness stemmed solely from the fact that he was the most physically gifted passer in the game. People marveled at the way he would shed would-be sackers and extend plays.

Football insiders really marveled at how, after shedding those tacklers and extending the play, he would still make such accurate downfield throws (usually doing so while off-balance).

Roethlisberger’s arm is as strong anyone’s. His precision accuracy is better than almost everyone’s. The fact that he can exhibit all this when things break down is breathtaking.

For a long time, Roethlisberger himself was often the reason things broke down in the first place. “Early on it was, Okay who’s my No. 1 receiver, who’s my No. 2 and that’s about all you had room for,” Roethlisberger told me when I visited the Steelers’ training camp this month. “It was: take the snap, if it’s there, get rid of it. If it’s not, make a play.”

Despite a long history of injuries, Roethlisberger hasn’t lost his playmaking magic at 34. But his game no longer relies on it. And that’s why he’s a markedly better QB now than he was in his 20’s.

“As I’ve evolved I’ve been able to recognize and read defenses, change a play if necessary,” Roethlisberger says. “I’ve gotten comfortable enough in this offense that it even gets down to, Okay, I’m looking at this safety. What’s he doing? What are his eyes telling me? I think that’s just the comfort level with our offense that I can afford to do that.”

Reading not just a safety’s positioning, but something as detailed as his eyes, is one element of 500-level quarterbacking. Another is manipulating a safety with your own eyes—or with your body language as a passer. Roethlisberger has become very adroit here, controlling defenders with his vision, with little rolls of the shoulder, subtle tilts of the helmet and, of course, various forms of his patented pump-faking.

“I think when I was doing the pump fakes early in my career, it was an attempt to throw the ball,” he says with a laugh. “The throw’s not there, so it turns out looking like a great pump fake. But as you get older, as you understand defenses and your offense, you utilize it [as a weapon]. I want to continue to get better [with all of these physical passing nuances], so I watch Tom and Drew and Aaron and some of those guys to see, Okay what’s something little they do that maybe I can do with my game? That’s how you’re always improving.”

122115_1Like Brady and Brees, Roethlisberger’s command both pre- and post-snap has led to an influx in empty backfield formations for his offense. You frequently see the Steelers spread into a 3×2 set with nobody but the QB in the backfield.

“Usually it reveals defenses easier, it’s harder for them to disguise a blitz because they’ve got to cover people, so they’ve got to spread out. We do enjoy it because we feel we can go up-tempo with it and keep it moving fast. We can take our shots but also get the ball out quick.”

He’s the only player of his era to be independently dominant as both a raw sandlot-style playmaker and as a controlling field general.

“You have to evolve with the times,” he says. “The longer you’re around, you find little tricks of the trade. Whether it’s in meetings, or even just impromptu meetings on the field. Or spending time with the backup quarterbacks that I’ve had. I’ve been very blessed with some great guys like that. I think all those things combined really helped me become more of a cerebral type quarterback.”


You can read more articles at MMBQ here.


Ben: ‘I’d like to get out there and play’

August 22nd, 2016 by

From his interview at Steelers.com:

082216Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t seen any action in the preseason yet, but he wouldn’t object to getting some playing time before the regular season rolls around.

“I’d like to get out there and play a little bit,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s fun to go against different uniforms. I remember the couple days of practice against the Lions. You get a little bit of butterflies in the belly seeing another uniform across from you.”

Roethlisberger added that he thinks he would still be prepared for the regular season opener against the Washington Redskins if Coach Mike Tomlin sat him the final two preseason games, but he would still welcome playing.

“I feel like I could go into the first regular season game and do it, but I’d like to be out there just because it’s a different speed,” said Roethlisberger. “You want to get out there. I know my line doesn’t want it, but I wouldn’t even mind getting hit once. Maybe after the ball is gone just a little tap from a defensive guy.”

One advantage of seeing playing time would get some chemistry with some of the younger wide receivers, including Eli Rogers who is battling for a spot.

“Hopefully it’s good for all of us,” said Roethlisberger. “For me to understand them and for them to understand me. How I work. Some the new guys who haven’t been on the field with me or haven’t been around to know how I communicate, how I play. Even for the linemen just to get back out there with everybody.”

Roethlisberger also weighed in on running back Le’Veon Bell, who will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season, as well as other topics of which more will still come –

On not having Bell the first three games:

“Good news is we’ve done it before. We’ve had DeAngelo (Williams) out there and we know what we get from him. Happy he is here and excited we’ve got a player like him to be out there for the first couple of games Le’Veon won’t be out there.”


On his reaction to Bell’s suspension:

“We are obviously disappointed to lose one of the best players in the game. It’s not easy. I know he is as disappointed as anybody. I have faith in the guys that will be out there, in DeAngelo and everyone else that we will make it through .We’re disappointed because one of the best running backs in the league and one of our brothers won’t be out there.”


On practice against card defenses and how that changes at this point:

“It just gives you a better understanding of what you are going to see in the game. We aren’t going to see a 3-4 all the time. You are going to see different defenses and blitzes, different looks. For us, it’s better preparation to go against card defenses, rather than going against our own.”


On possibly running five-receiver sets due to the tight end uncertainty:

“I think we have the capability to do it. We have running backs that can go out. We have tight ends. We have the capability and the personnel to be able to complement whatever we have out there and whatever we don’t have out there. So, we need to just get on the same page with everybody and be ready to go.”


On young receiving group:

“I think they try and take their cue from the best in the game. Antonio Brown is always out there working, and he’s taking every rep. You tell him to get out and he doesn’t want to get out. I think with his work ethic, the rest of the guys see it, so they bust their butt to be out there. Guys are just understanding the offense better and better, hand signals, looks, things like that. That’s why I say to be out there this next game, to kind of start doing some of those things in live action would be really good for us.”


On taking every rep during Saturday’s practice:

“We kind of had a plan this training camp, day one, half-day off. I think it has been really good for me. It has made me feel really healthy for days like Saturday. Hopefully we will have some guys out there today to help me not take all the reps. But when the season comes, I take every rep, every day anyway. So I might just be starting that a little early than usual.”


On working a lot with Markus Wheaton at camp:

“We haven’t had a lot [of work] because he has been out. Disappointed that he was out of the practices, because I felt like we had really grown a lot and the chemistry had grown a lot. Even if it’s just because his locker is next to mine, communicating as we are next to each other and talking. he spent so much time in the training room that he couldn’t be next to me to talk about things. It was frustrating and disappointing because he wasn’t out there. But he’s out there now, and he is busting his butt to be out there.”


On Wheaton’s next step:

“Just keep growing, keep learning, keep understanding defense and keep understanding what I expect and want him to do in certain situations, certain looks, things like that. Just keep understanding the game.”


On approaching your work with Ladarius Green:

“Just be patient. I am still excited about the possibility and the opportunity, and the things that I have seen and heard. I am just hoping he can get healthy and get out there. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of things from him. I’ve heard a lot of things from other people about him. I am still excited for the opportunity. He is still communicating with me almost on a daily basis. ‘Ben, what do you think about this? What do you want here?’ I think the mental aspect and the mental side of it, he is on top of it.”


You can watch video of his interview here.


A Pre-Season Steeler Nation Sunday

August 21st, 2016 by

…starts with Congratulations to Brian Cooper, winner of the 2016 Arizona Open yesterday in Scottsdale, Arizona:

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“Love showing my love for the Steelers. Especially while winning the 2016 Arizona Open.” — Brian.


Wait! You’re thinking that “Coop” looks familiar? He should! He’s been featured on Ben’s website more than a few times – He was one of our “Twitter Dads” on August 24th, 2014; He was our “Marksman” at Ben’s Charity Golf Tournament on June 23rd, 2014: And he was in attendance at Ben’s Foundation event on June 21st, 2015.


A couple of ‘Thank You’s’ to Big Ben:

Gino Piazza has been having a really rough time of it lately with chemo, and was super excited when a BIG shoe from Big Ben arrived…

082116_GinoCollage

“Guess who’s day was made? Tears galore!!! Thank you!!!❤️❤️ He wanted to measure his shoe size too. Lol! He has a ways to go!! Huge shoes! My dad said ‘Big shoes, Big heart!’ ❤. — Gino’s mom, Michelle.



You’re never too old…

082116_VinceRushDad

“My Dad couldn’t smile any bigger than he is here, after Ben sent him the pair of game worn shoes from the Steeler’s victory over the Bengals in the 2015 Wild Card game. As a life long Steeler fan and an individual that, when finances were extremely tight in 1974, emptied the family savings to buy equipment and start a community Pee Wee football program, in Camden, Ohio, he still enjoys catching every Steeler game. Bob Rush worked at Miami University during Ben’s career and retired a few years ago. His only tough decision right now is deciding if he should display these size 14’s in the family curio or wear them as house shoes!” — Vince Rush.



Of course start’em young is the best way –

082116_AmandaBattle

“Train them in the way they should go.. Passing down the knowledge of a Dynasty!” — Amanda Battle.



082116_Evan

“The kid is me and on the right is my dad, Keith. This was taken on October 26, 2014 at the Steelers vs Colts, and I would like to say, it was our first game and it was amazing!! The energy you get off the crowd – it was amazing!!” — Evan.



Did somebody say #7?

082116_RegiosDeAcero

“This is our pride. STEELERS PRIDE.” — Regios de Acero, Steelers Mexico Fan Club.



Have a great week, Steeler Nation! Thank you for sharing these great photos with us!


Bid now…

August 19th, 2016 by

and help support the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation!

SCP Auctions presents two different pairs of Ben’s game-used, dual-signed Nike’s for your consideration –

081816One pair of Nike turf shoes is from the Steelers 27-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons on December 14, 2014 – a game in which Ben threw for 360 yards.

The second pair are Nike cleats worn for the Steelers vs the Minnesota Vikings game in London on September 29, 2013 when Ben threw for 383 yards.


A portion of the proceeds benefit Ben’s foundation. You can check out both pair of shoes and place your bid here.


“Ben Roethlisberger’s camp recipe: Ice packs and three-wheeled vehicles”

August 18th, 2016 by

From Jeremy Fowler, ESPN.com:

If the Antonio Brown camp experience is about flash and adoration, Ben Roethlisberger opts for speed and ice.

Roethlisberger just wrapped his 13th training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Saint Vincent College, and a couple of things stood out, aside from his obvious ability at quarterback.

He has gotten more rest days.

And he has a sweet, three-wheeled hunting ride for zipping around campus.

081716

The Steelers implemented what seemed like a three-day cycle of rest for Roethlisberger: full participation, partial participation, off day. One Steelers staffer jokingly referred to it as the Hines Ward treatment, a nod to an accomplished, older player who doesn’t need the reps that young players do.

After most practices or throwing sessions, Roethlisberger, 34, ices his throwing elbow or his left knee, or both. This is precautionary. Roethlisberger has said he has felt no negative effects from the sprained medial collateral ligament he suffered last season, and the elbow ice is for maintenance.

Roethlisberger also gets rest from preseason games. He won’t play Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles after sitting the opener against the Detroit Lions. The Steelers can call it the Ben Bubble, a way to protect their prized asset.

The way the Steelers see it, giving more reps to Landry Jones and Dustin Vaughan doesn’t hurt Roethlisberger.

“I know what Ben is capable of,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “He showed up in tremendous condition. He’s performed well. He’s obviously a veteran. What’s required for him to be ready to play might be different than others.”

Now, onto the ride. Roethlisberger drives what’s called a “Quiet Kat,” described by the company as an “advanced electric vehicle for today’s progressive outdoorsman who wants to get out and go further.”

It’s mountain biking meets all-terrain vehicle, basically.

As Roethlisberger whizzed by one day on campus, he called it his “training camp vehicle,” a way to get to and from meetings or lunch. This bad boy goes up to 32 miles an hour without making a sound.

Roethlisberger drove his Quiet Kat in the outfield while trying to catch pop flies during the Steelers’ annual home run derby on campus.

Now that camp is wrapping up, Roethlisberger will drive something else soon enough — downfield in live action.


You can read more from Mr. Fowler here.


*Interested in your own Quiet Kat? You can check out their website here, and while you’re there, you can enter to win one!


We’re takin’ over!!!

August 15th, 2016 by

While Daddy is at Steelers training camp doin’ football stuff…Team Roethlisberger is holdin’ down the fort, and we’re taking over his website today!

IMG_2952
“Daddy, this smile is for YOU!!!” — Bodie



MowingtheYard
“Just gotta get the lawn mowed before we head out to our favorite place – Idlewild Park!” — Baylee



IMG_3021
“Come on everybody! You’re fallin’ behind!! Follow me to the Park!” — Benjamin, Jr.



Cousins
“We love going places with our cousins! They are SO much fun!” — Benjamin & Baylee



Happy
“We need a whole room full of these at our house!” — Benjamin, Jr.



Uho
“Whoa! I’m not so sure about that, Benjamin!” — Baylee



SillyMommy
“Isn’t mommy silly and funny? She jumped right in here with us!!” — Benjamin Jr.



PicMonkey Collage
“When’s the show gonna start, Benjamin?” — Baylee

“Pretty soon. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the B.E.S.T.!” — Benjamin, Jr.



IMG_2992
“We’re just a couple of shady ladies.” — Baylee



waterpark
“Not 1, not 2, but 3 thumbs-up for ice cream cones at the SoakZone!!” — Benjamin, Jr.



Then back at home it get’s serious…

Baby vs Puppy – wrasslin’ and trash-talkin’ over territorial rights:

IMG_3046
Remy: “Hey, that’s MY teddy bear bed!!”

Bodie: “No, it’s MINE!”

Remy: “No, it’s MINE!”

Bodie: “No way, Puppy Breath, it’s mine!”

Remy: “You’re goin’ down, Diaper Boy!”



Daddy better hurry home soon!



Tomlin talks Big Ben

August 13th, 2016 by

From an interview with Coach T by Bob Labriola, Steelers.com:

081316Q: During a backs-on-backers drill on the first day in pads, Ben Roethlisberger stepped into the square and served as the imaginary quarterback/target instead of a ball-boy. You were standing right there watching. What did you think of that?

Coach Tomlin: Sometimes I play chicken with Ben. I think he wanted me to take him out of the drill, and I didn’t want to give him what he wanted. (Laughs)


Q: What’s to be gained from that, though, from having Ben participate in backs-on-backers?

Coach Tomlin: Ben’s presence adds credibility to whatever drill is going on. Often, he doesn’t get a chance to participate in backs-on-backers because he’s throwing the ball in some other drill taking place at the same time. More than anything, he was really excited about having the opportunity to see the drill. He hasn’t seen the drill in person a lot since he’s been with us. That was an element of it, but also I think he likes to be able to feel the pocket. Ben is a guy who has built his reputation on standing in and sliding in the pocket and extending plays, and he saw it as an opportunity to work on those skills some. Make no mistake: everybody in the drill knew he was in the drill, and they behaved accordingly.


You can read the full interview here.


A Steeler Nation Family Vacation

August 11th, 2016 by

…….always includes the following essentials:

Sunblock ✔
Bathing suits ✔
Beach towels ✔
Shorts ✔
T-shirts ✔
Flip flops ✔


And most importantly –

Jerseys of your favorite Steelers players for a great family photo! ✔


MulinaroFamily_frame
The Mulinaro Family of Indianapolis enjoying their vacation in Destin, Florida!

Left to Right: Joey 22, Emily 14, mom Lori, Maddie 19, and dad Joe vacation in style – Steelers style!


“Roethlisberger Talks Kids, Rivalries & Remaining A Leader”

August 8th, 2016 by

From Ben’s One-on-One interview with Mr. Bob Pompeani on CBS Pittsburgh:

BobPompeani_080816Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is ready to go this season and talked to KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani about how being a father of three changed his offseason workout routine.

“Just a lot of cardio, running and chasing kids. As you know, chasing kids will burn some calories,” Roethlisberger said.

In addition to the cardio, the three kids keep him busy at home.

“Awesome. Crazy, hectic. There’s a lot of words that can be used. But most importantly, it’s a lot of fun,” Roethlisberger said. “We travel a lot. Taking the kids with us when we travel isn’t always easy, but we want them to experience a lot of fun places.”

Steelers Nation is vast, which means it’s hard for Roethlisberger to not get noticed when he goes out, even with the family. While Roethlisberger’s children don’t quite know just how famous he is, they take it all in stride.

“Because we go places and people ask for autographs and pictures. My son, who’s the oldest one, just, is like, it’s nothing to him. I don’t think he quite comprehends yet, what it’s about,” Roethlisberger said.

On the field, Roethlisberger is the leader of the offense. His teammates listen when he speaks, but is it the same at home?

Mr. Pompeani: Are you the disciplinarian or –

Ben: Yes. I am. Absolutely.

Mr. Pompeani: Really?

Ben: Yeah. Not saying she isn’t but, I’m the one that lays the law.

Mr. Pompeani: They listen?

Ben: About 95 percent of the time.

Roethlisberger is entering his 13th year in the NFL. Eventually, he’ll make a decision about retirement, but that’s not coming any time soon.

“I feel great. I joke, but it’s kind of serious, that it’s either Mr. Rooney or the Good Lord is gonna tell me I’m done,” Roethlisberger said. “I feel now that I won’t play past when I can’t play. I’m not gonna force the team to make a decision. But, if I feel healthy I’m gonna do it. I hate looking forward to the end because I feel like I’m cheating the here-and-now.In this game, we all know, you’re one play away from being done. I don’t want to cheat the fans, my teammates, from now and here, this next practice, this next game to think about, ‘Oh I’m gonna be done in four or five years.’ I’m gonna let it play out and see what happens.”

While the team is preparing to embark on a quest to bring a seventh Super Bowl title to Pittsburgh, they might have to do it without the services of Le’Veon Bell for four games.

Regardless of whether or not Bell is suspended, Roethlisberger is confident that DeAngelo Williams can step up and deliver.

“I don’t even know if it’s official, what’s happened, so for me to talk about it, it’s a moot point, because we don’t know yet. We hope he’s out there. To me, [Bell’s] the best all-around back in the game. If he can’t be out there, we are confident in DeAngelo. We know what he can do, he did it last year. And we all need to step up whether he’s out there or not out there. We need to be the best we can be.”

Ben shakes his head when Martavis Bryant is brought up.

Mr. Pompeani: When you found out that he was out again, that’s a big weapon to be lost, what was your reaction?

Ben: Hurt. Disappointed. Because he was a brother. Everybody on this team is a brother. And I just felt let dow that he wasn’t always honest with me. I was checking on him and always asking how he’s doing. I checked in with him every single day when he wasn’t here the first time around. And I just felt like we had a great relationship and I’m just disappointed that it happened. I had asked him over and over–checkin’ on him–and just felt that he wasn’t honest with me all the time.

Asked if that is a relationship that can be mended, Roethlisberger says “absolutely.”

“It’s something that, in my opinion, he needs to reach out to me. I’ve done a lot for him, and I know it may sound bad that I’m not reaching out to him, but I’ve done it a lot. And all I need is that call from him. I still love him to death and will still be there for him, still support him and do everything I can for him. But he’s getting himself right for and that’s the most important.”

After last season, Pittsburgh is certainly not feeling warm and fuzzy towards the Cincinnati Bengals. Have they become the new Ravens?

“When I first got here, that Ravens rivalry, everybody talked about it…because it was physical. Everyone wanted to watch the hits and the hard-nosed football. The Bengals game has gotten to that, but I don’t want it to turn into a dirty game. People want to see that game, tune into it because it’s gonna be physical, gonna be a good game. But not at the risk of it being a dirty football game. Not that it’s there, but it’s teetering on the edge of it being unnecessary roughness type game, compared to a good physical football game.”


You can watch video from Ben’s interviewhere.


Big Ben’s interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio

August 7th, 2016 by

NFL Training Camp Tour: Roethlisberger to Steelers TEs: ‘Don’t try and be Heath Miller’

021916Ben Roethlisberger still can’t quite wrap his mind around the fact that he and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers are at training camp and Heath Miller is nowhere to be found.

For almost all of Roethlisberger’s years as an NFL quarterback, he knew he could rely on his talented tight end to find those seams in the secondary, to make the clutch catches, to keep the chains moving.

Now, with Miller having retired, Roethlisberger needs to look elsewhere for dependability and production from the tight end spot.

“That’s the biggest thing for me, being here 13 years and 12 of them with Heath Miller, a guy that I love to death,” Roethlisberger told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan at the Steelers’ camp in Latrobe, Pa. “To not see him out here and still tough. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. So to not have him out here but to have other tight ends that are stepping up, doing some different things — Jesse James, X-man (Xavier Grimble), DJ (David Johnson) — stretching the field a little bit.

“It’s different, but it’s good. I told them the other night, ‘Listen, don’t try and be Heath Miller, because you’re not going to be Heath. Don’t try and fill those shoes. Be the best Jesse and best X, best you can be.’”


You can listen to his interview here.

And if you missed the Steelers’ Friday Night Lights, you can watch a video montage here.


MAGAZINE/BOOK ALERT!

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EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

WHAT: The SunnyD Ben Roethlisberger Football Camp
WHEN: June 18th & 19th, 2016
WHERE: Bethel Park High School, 309 Church Rd., Bethel Park, PA.
REGISTRATION: Sign up here (Use code BigBen7 for $20 off fee).

EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

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2016 STEELERS SCHEDULE

 

9/12 @ Redskins 7:10PM – ESPN
9/18 Bengals 1PM – CBS/KDKA
9/25 @ Eagles 4:25PM – CBS/KDKA
10/2 Chiefs 8:30PM – NBC
10/9 Jets 1PM – CBS/KDKA
10/16 @ Dolphins 1PM – CBS/KDKA
10/23 Patriots 4:25PM – CBS/KDKA
10/30 BYE Week N/A
11/6 @ Ravens 1PM – CBS/KDKA
11/13 Cowboys 4:25PM – FOX
11/20 @ Browns 1PM – CBS/KDKA
11/24 @ Colts 8:30PM – NBC
12/4 Giants 4:25PM – FOX
12/11 @ Bills 1PM – CBS/KDKA
12/18 @ Bengals 8:30PM – NBC
12/25 Ravens 4:30PM – NFLN
1/1 Browns 1PM – CBS/KDKA