View Full Version : Rusty QB and his offense need to warm up fast with Bengals on deck

09-19-2006, 11:27 PM
Rusty QB and his offense need to warm up fast with Bengals on deck
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bill Cowher wasn't prepared to give a complete injury-status report yesterday heading into Sunday's game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. It had been barely 12 hours after the Steelers' 9-0 loss at Jacksonville. But he was able to clarify one medical misnomer:

Big Ben had a little fever.

In other words, Roethlisberger's mercury reading was exaggerated on the ESPN telecast Monday night and by various other media outlets afterward.

"The fever was 100.4. Not 104. Somebody miscalculated a decimal point," Cowher said tersely yesterday in what was mostly a terse news conference.

So that meant that the television reports were erroneous?

"I don't know," Cowher added with the same stern face as throughout, "I didn't watch any of the pregame shows."

The Steelers' coach -- whose offense mustered just 26 yards rushing for the lowest such total in Cowher's 236-game era and scored zero points for the first time in 41 regular- and postseason games -- didn't seem

ready to ascribe Roethlisberger's slight temperature increase as the reason for his third-year quarterback's subpar performance. He didn't seem ready to ascribe the 17-for-32 passing for 141 yards and two interceptions to any lingering problems or weariness from Roethlisberger's emergency appendectomy 15 days earlier.

Oh, and the reason for the fever? "The common cold, from what I was told," Cowher said. "I mean, I think [the reason for such a performance] is just the fact with everything that has gone on, it was his first game out. When you go from the preseason to the regular season, everybody's going through that period of acclimation to the speed of the game, because it does go up. Then you come into the second week of the season, and [the rest of the players] have already been through that first week of acclimation. He was probably a little behind in that standpoint.

"You know what, I thought he started the game, and threw some balls, pretty well. We were not in sync. ... And, some of that will take time. I remember, last week in practice, the first day we were out there, he completed a ball to Hines [Ward], and I told them that it was the first completion they had to each other in a month, since training camp.

"It has been a case of circumstances have not allowed us to be in sync in practice, and sometimes that does carry over into games. We certainly have to get better as a whole. It was one game, but there are a lot things we have to make sure we don't just think [are] going to get rectified over time. There has to be a sense of urgency in doing so, in all three phases. We're going to have to play better. And, certainly, there's no margin of error playing the team we're playing Sunday."

The Bengals (2-0), of Who Dey fame or infamy, depending on your perspective, invade Heinz Field at 1 p.m. Sunday in what amounts to an AFC divisional game of early importance for the Super Bowl champion Steelers (1-1). Cincinnati ranks fourth in the NFL in takeaway margin (plus-3) and fourth across the board offensively in the AFC, so ball security and ball control appear to be vital components for the home side. Roethlisberger and his two fourth-quarter interceptions didn't particularly faze Cowher.

At least, to him, it's an area where practice, then another game, can fix.

"There's no substitute for playing time, there's no substitute for just developing some continuity," Cowher said. "It's not just with [Roethlisberger and Ward], it's everybody. It's the line, the defense ... those things go hand in hand. It was a setback last night. The most important thing is how you respond to that. You learn from it."

Cowher maintained that he never gave a thought to yanking Roethlisberger, 22-4 as a starter in the regular season, in favor of veteran backup Charlie Batch.

"I didn't think it was just one player" bogging down the offense, he said. "I think Ben just needs to play. I really do. He battled to the end. I think he'll be better this week."

Also on the injury front, where Cowher considered the early prognosis on the Steelers' health for Cincinnati as "pretty good, considering we [go] through a short week," the coach expressed no reservations about playing an essentially one-armed Troy Polamalu at safety. He added that he fully expects Polamalu, whose right shoulder injury caused him to be upgraded to probable from questionable last Thursday, to start Sunday.

"He was playing hurt, there's no question," Cowher said. "But, you know, Troy, with the way he's playing, is still better than a lot of players in the National Football League. He got through it well, which I'm encouraged by.

"He played fine."

The Steelers overall did not, to the coach's liking.

"[Monday night's game] was disappointing from the standpoint I felt we had opportunities," said Cowher, who pointed out two third-down failures by the Steelers' defense deep in Jaguars territory in each of the third and fourth quarters. "I think that without question they controlled the line of scrimmage from [the Steelers'] offensive standpoint. We really couldn't get anything established in the running game, just couldn't make any plays in the passing game. Consequently, we couldn't get into any flow.

"It's one game. It's a second game. The important thing is -- as I told the players [Monday] night -- don't dwell on it.

"The biggest thing is to get our minds focused when we come in [Wednesday] on a divisional opponent, the defending division champs in Cincinnati. We'll have our hands full with that. We're ready to move on."


09-20-2006, 02:34 PM
I don't think any of us doubt that Ben and the whole team are going to be right ready for this contest, the bad showing they had on Monday night is only fuel to the fire and the fact it's the Bengal's...nuff said!!

Ben will throw for 3 TD's

09-20-2006, 05:45 PM
u guys dont need 2 fear the bungles, u just got 2 blitz palmer alot and mess up his rythum and take chad away from him and thats it. also the DL has 2 play much better against the bungles and stop rudi johnson.. good luck black N gold.

09-20-2006, 06:03 PM
u guys dont need 2 fear the bungles, u just got 2 blitz palmer alot and mess up his rythum and take chad away from him and thats it. also the DL has 2 play much better against the bungles and stop rudi johnson.. good luck black N gold.

thank you Matt we appreciate the kind words!!!!:tt02: :thumbsup: