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alittlejazzbird
02-27-2007, 09:42 AM
I think, with Coach Tomlin in the house, that we've seen the end of "last on the field, first off" as it pertains to young Mr. Roethlisberger. And props to Ron Cook for his take on the Whisenhunt comments.

************************************************** ***********************
Ron Cook: Big Ben must return with better work ethic
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's quite plausible, as former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt suggested over the weekend, that Ben Roethlisberger's physical trauma contributed significantly to his lousy season in 2006. It had to have some impact, didn't it? A near-death experience in a horrific motorcycle accident. An emergency appendectomy. A concussion. How much abuse can a body take? How much mental anguish?

But while we're talking plausible, here's another theory:

Big Ben's poor work habits had just as much to do with his rotten play.

In that sense, Whisenhunt's candid observations about Roethlisberger at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis might do the Steelers considerable harm. The last thing Roethlisberger needs about now is an excuse. A kick in the fanny from new coach Mike Tomlin, perhaps. But definitely not an excuse.

In fairness to Whisenhunt, now the Arizona Cardinals' head coach, he wasn't trying to put the Steelers in a bad spot. He merely answered a question about the potential impact of Roethlisberger's injuries and appendectomy on his performance. He said, stressing hindsight, that he, along with everyone else in the organization, including former coach Bill Cowher, might have underestimated the effects of the accident on Roethlisberger. He said he noticed Roethlisberger seemed gun-shy in the pocket much of the season. He also said, again in hindsight, that the team might have been better off playing backup Charlie Batch in the second game against the Jacksonville Jaguars instead of starting Roethlisberger, who was just 15 days past his appendectomy and had missed the opener against the Miami Dolphins.

An honest answer to a fair question, to be sure.

But let's get one thing straight:

Hindsight or no hindsight, Cowher, Whisenhunt and the others did nothing wrong in their handling of Roethlisberger last season. Team doctors cleared Roethlisberger. He wanted to play. He's the franchise quarterback. The Steelers had to play him. They can live with his failures, his 23 interceptions, the team's disappointing 8-8 record. But losing with their backup quarterback would have been intolerable.

No one can say for sure what effects Roethlisberger's trauma had on him. Even now, he probably can't determine that. How do you measure something so ambiguous?

What we do know, though, is Roethlisberger almost certainly would have played better if he had cared more about his job. Maybe it was his immaturity. He won't turn 25 until Friday. Maybe he was a bit too full of himself after his first two NFL seasons were so spectacular. Who knows? But it wasn't exactly a secret at the Steelers' South Side headquarters that Big Ben wasn't the team's hardest worker. A lot of people -- team executives, coaches and even players -- joked how he frequently was the last on and the first off the practice field, although they didn't see much humor in it. Seldom did he stay after practice to throw to his receivers and work on his timing with them even though Hines Ward missed training camp with a hamstring injury, Nate Washington was getting his first real playing time and Santonio Holmes was a rookie. Maybe it would have been different if he had been putting in extra time in the film room. But he wasn't. He's no Peyton Manning that way.

It's nice to think Roethlisberger learned from everything that happened to him last year. One day soon, when he meets with the local media for the first time since the end of last season, he'll be asked about Whisenhunt's comments. Here's hoping he responds by saying: "You know what? I didn't play well last season. The reasons don't matter. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Actually, Roethlisberger said something along those lines after he threw two interceptions in a home loss to the Baltimore Ravens in December, a defeat that eliminated the Steelers from playoff contention.

"I told some of the receivers and some of the other guys that we need to get better. I'm going to stay around here a lot. We'll work out together this offseason and get better together."

Thursday is March 1.

It's time for Roethlisberger to start living up to his word and honoring his commitment.

It's up to Tomlin to make sure he does.

Getting Big Ben right has to be the new coaching staff's No. 1 priority.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/pp/07058/765245.stm

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 10:27 AM
Cook lost me right here:

"Hindsight or no hindsight, Cowher, Whisenhunt and the others did nothing wrong in their handling of Roethlisberger last season."

Um, yes they did, Ron. Proof? Raiders game - Ben had no business being on that field.

Cook also lost me further with this:

"Team doctors cleared Roethlisberger."

So what?!? As I mentioned in another thread about a book I read written by a former team doctor of the Raiders, some of the injuries these team doctors are forcibly coerced into clearing would turn a person's stomach.

memphissteelergirl
02-27-2007, 10:50 AM
Very good article, and right on target, IMO. There were many instances last season where I thought they should have put Batch in the game. I think there is a lot of blame to go around for the season Ben and the rest of the team had, but most of it has to do with Ben himself. And I think he knows that. Please don't get me wrong: I love the big guy; he's the best QB we have had in a looonng time, but he's going to have to grow up and be a leader if he wants to take this team back to the playoffs next season. And being a leader means sometimes you have to step back and do what's best for yourself and the team as a whole. If you know you can't go full throttle, let somebody else step up and do the job.

83-Steelers-43
02-27-2007, 10:53 AM
"But it wasn't exactly a secret at the Steelers' South Side headquarters that Big Ben wasn't the team's hardest worker. A lot of people -- team executives, coaches and even players -- joked how he frequently was the last on and the first off the practice field, although they didn't see much humor in it. Seldom did he stay after practice to throw to his receivers and work on his timing with them even though Hines Ward missed training camp with a hamstring injury, Nate Washington was getting his first real playing time and Santonio Holmes was a rookie. Maybe it would have been different if he had been putting in extra time in the film room. But he wasn't. He's no Peyton Manning that way."

Interesting. I guess this is just one of those examples of where "the media is just trying to stir it up!". Nothing to see here folks, nothing to see here. Move along. Keep moving.

As for his medical clearance. I was and still am of the strong opinion that if the doc gives you the green light, then you play. Were there times that Ben should have been taken out of games? Sure. Oakland game comes to mind. But I can't blame Cowher for giving Ben the thumbs up after getting clearance from the team doctor. IMO, the majority of HC's in the NFL would have done the same with their franchise QB in that situation. Once again, I'm not a doctor and even if I were I'm not the TEAM doctor so who am I to say the team doctor was wrong? Just my opinion.

Eitherway, his injury is in the past now. At this point, I'm more concerned with the "work ethic" statements.

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 11:04 AM
Just to clarify my earlier statement - do I think Ben needs to watch more film? Absolutely. But for Cook to basically suggest that "more film study" would have led to him playing better in a game like the Oakland game, for example, after having his brains scrambled in Atlanta the week before is ridiculous.

TackleMeBen
02-27-2007, 11:13 AM
Just to clarify my earlier statement - do I think Ben needs to watch more film? Absolutely. But for Cook to basically suggest that "more film study" would have led to him playing better in a game like the Oakland game, for example, after having his brains scrambled in Atlanta the week before is ridiculous.


I dont even think they should have let him on the flight to Oakland for that game. I dont care if he is the franchise QB or not, his health should have been the important thing, and I believe the coaches were more concerned about winning than if he was healthy or not. Just because you are medically cleared to play doesnt mean you are mentally ready to play

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 11:18 AM
I dont even think they should have let him on the flight to Oakland for that game. I dont care if he is the franchise QB or not, his health should have been the important thing, and I believe the coaches were more concerned about winning than if he was healthy or not. Just because you are medically cleared to play doesnt mean you are mentally ready to play

If you're interested in a good read on the subject, check out "You're Okay, It's Just a Bruise" by Rob Huizenga. After reading that, I don't put a hell of a lot of stock in a player being "medically cleared" by a team doctor, sorry. In a multi-billion dollar game where everybody wants to see the best 22 players from both teams lined up against each other on Sunday, the consideration of players' health (especially long term) takes a back seat. My opinion on this is quite strong, as you can see.

Preacher
02-27-2007, 11:20 AM
This is an interesting topic... because I remember commentators the first year or two talking about how Ben would be out in the rain... the only one on the field, with his QB coach throwing the football before games.

I wonder if this "Work Ethic Problem" was actually more of a result of the trauma to his body. This year will be a telling year in the career of Big Ben, and in the future of the Steelers.

tony hipchest
02-27-2007, 11:37 AM
since when does a concussion the week before automatically cause a qb to throw int's the following week? it never seemed to happen with aikman or young.

i think you hold a player out because of risk of another concussion, not because they will turn into an interception machine. throwing a ball on target should come as easy as riding a bike. as far as the medical clearance, there are all sorts of mental aptitude tests he would have to pass in order to be cleared. he should not have been benched as long as trent green was.

but kudos to whiz for sticking up for his ex qb and giving him the benefit of the doubt as opposed to the "team executives, coaches and even players" who are now coming out that ben doesnt give all the effort he needs to.

TackleMeBen
02-27-2007, 11:40 AM
If you're interested in a good read on the subject, check out "You're Okay, It's Just a Bruise" by Rob Huizenga. After reading that, I don't put a hell of a lot of stock in a player being "medically cleared" by a team doctor, sorry. In a multi-billion dollar game where everybody wants to see the best 22 players from both teams lined up against each other on Sunday, the consideration of players' health (especially long term) takes a back seat. My opinion on this is quite strong, as you can see.

Yes I see you have a strong opinion on this.. and thanks for the recommendation for a new book. I am looking for a good read. :thumbsup:

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 11:45 AM
since when does a concussion the week before automatically cause a qb to throw int's the following week? it never seemed to happen with aikman or young.

Fair enough. However, you didn't notice a huge difference in Ben from the Atlanta game up until he got his bell rung to the next week in Oakland?

tony hipchest
02-27-2007, 11:56 AM
Fair enough. However, you didn't notice a huge difference in Ben from the Atlanta game up until he got his bell rung to the next week in Oakland?i see practice the week leading up to oakland going something like this:

coaches- "hey ben, just take it easy this week. get rested, and we will see if the doctors clear you. if you feel you can and the doctors say youre ok we need you out there next week. theres a big game against the broncos in 2 weeks and we dont want you to be rusty. dont worry about studying. its just the raiders. this will be a cakewalk. just get your rest and be ready to go."

...or something to that effect.

i admit ben looked like crap, but hes looked crappy like that w/o the concussions. usually his 1st game back after an injury or a bye week he looks "off".

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 12:02 PM
i see practice the week leading up to oakland going something like this:

coaches- "hey ben, just take it easy this week. get rested, and we will see if the doctors clear you. if you feel you can and the doctors say youre ok we need you out there next week. theres a big game against the broncos in 2 weeks and we dont want you to be rusty. dont worry about studying. its just the raiders. this will be a cakewalk. just get your rest and be ready to go."

...or something to that effect.

i admit ben looked like crap, but hes looked crappy like that w/o the concussions. usually his 1st game back after an injury or a bye week he looks "off".

Good point, Tony - it probably did go down like that. However, nobody is going to convince me he was physically OK to play in that game and that he wasn't rushed (not to mention rushing himself) back into action in that game. Same goes for the JAX game.

tony hipchest
02-27-2007, 12:08 PM
Good point, Tony - it probably did go down like that. However, nobody is going to convince me he was physically OK to play in that game and that he wasn't rushed (not to mention rushing himself) back into action in that game. Same goes for the JAX game.batch probably had the most reps in practice going into the jax and oak games, so from a mental standpoint he was probably more prepared. i think the steelers didnt want ben going into the cincinatti game rusty just like they didnt want him going into the denver game rusty (both were previous playoff opponents in 05 and favorites to contend for the afc crown in 06). i think the steelers made a critical error in placing more importance on those 2 games and kind of thought the jax and oakland games could be easier wins. a warm up game so to speak.

The Duke
02-27-2007, 12:30 PM
Nice article, and yeah Batch should've started the Jax game, it was an important game, we did lose to them last season, even if it wasn't with Ben, and the Oakland game, well after the first half any coach could see Ben shouldn't have been in. Well here's hoping we do vetter in 2007, especially Ben.:cheers:

paw-n-maul-u
02-27-2007, 12:34 PM
tony hipchest and fansince 76 are you guys insane?? "oh dont do anything for the raiders this week. dont study film. dont really try hard. infact, just head over there in kick it by the pool and we'll send the towel boy over to make you a margarita."

this is the NFL. any team can beat any other team any given week. so on weeks they play teams like oakland do they all go golfing the friday before the game instead of watching film/practice?

Ben got absolutely no protection last year. he was missing his top receiver for some games. the o-line was unhealthy at times. it was just a bad year with too much stuff going on


in the article on espn. im pretty sure it mentioned something like "every time he got into a groove and started playing better something would happen."

you recover from a motor cycle accident, make i through training camp and get back into the flow of things. oh wait but your appendix ruptures. so you get surgery, rest a week, come back and are a little weak looking. finally get back into it with an outstanding performance against the chiefs. then come out vs the falcons and absolutely rip the falcons secondary wide open. oh wait then you get mauled and get a concussion. did anyone see the falcons game and how ridiculous ben was playing? he was like a boy among men. i would know, i was there.

for anyone here are his FIRST HALF STATS of the falcons game
att.16 comp.22 yrd.238 %72.7 TD's 3 INT's 0 RATE 147.3

The Duke
02-27-2007, 12:44 PM
for anyone here are his FIRST HALF STATS of the falcons game att.16 comp.22 yrd.238 %72.7 TD's 3 INT's 0 RATE 147.3

So the in the second half came in the concussion, messed up his game and possibly the raiders game.

fansince'76
02-27-2007, 12:47 PM
tony hipchest and fansince 76 are you guys insane?? "oh dont do anything for the raiders this week. dont study film. dont really try hard. infact, just head over there in kick it by the pool and we'll send the towel boy over to make you a margarita."

I think I made myself pretty clear that I felt that the major reason for Ben's 4 INT performance in Oakland was due to getting his brains scrambled the week before in Atlanta.

tony hipchest
02-27-2007, 01:36 PM
so on weeks they play teams like oakland do they all go golfing the friday before the game instead of watching film/practice?

no, on weeks their qb is questionable, they give him 100% of the practice reps, in full contact drills, with twice the amount of film study, then he runs through a gauntlet of teammates hitting him on the head with baseball bats to see if he can withstand the impact. :rolleyes:

ChronoCross
02-27-2007, 01:52 PM
no, on weeks their qb is questionable, they give him 100% of the practice reps, in full contact drills, with twice the amount of film study, then he runs through a gauntlet of teammates hitting him on the head with baseball bats to see if he can withstand the impact. :rolleyes:

LOL.. Could you post a pic of a QB after they go thru one of this.. I bet it would be funny as heck.. Could you see strong men like Harris, Porter, Hampton hitting Ben - You should of not threw that INT WAP.

Atlanta Dan
02-27-2007, 02:09 PM
My discontent with Ben playing the Raiders game would not have changed if he threw for 350 yards, 4 TDs, and had a passer rating of 157.

Having sustained a concussion during the motorcycle accident (I assume) and getting a concusson in the ATL game, there (at least) was reasonable doubt as to wheher he had recovered by the time of the Raiders game. No player should be playing until he is clearly determined to have recovered from head trauma, but your most valuable players need to be watched especially carefully.

Of course Troy was clearly lost in space after getting a concussion in the Saints game, but he played the next week despite his history of concussions.

The Steelers team doctor signs medical clearances like Henry Blake signed whatever Radar O'Reilly put in front of him in M*A*S*H.

On the issue of Cook's column, the need for Ben to put in the work is spot on; it was hard to argue with the success of 2004-05, but after last year's sloppiness Ben needs to start watching more film and cease chucking it down the middle of the field regardless of the coverage.

Livinginthe past
02-27-2007, 03:08 PM
I think that as 83-43 alludes to, the questioning of Bens work ethic should not just be swept under the carpet - this type of story is actually counter intuitive to what you would expect....unless someone who was responsible for him taking the field is looking to spread the blame a little.

I do, however, question how the same level of blame can be attributed to lack of effort as the multiple accidents and trauma's - to my mind, Ben resembled Wile Coyote last year stumbling from one calamity straight into another.

When this subject was last raised I suggested that Cowher should have taken more heat for this decision - the dcotors 'okay' may mean he is safe to play - but the coach should be able to decide if he is actually going to become a liability.

Another thing I have questioned (yes, despite the SB win) is Cowhers ability to think on his feet - the Oakland game was the most obvious example of a situation where the needs of the team come before getting your franchise QB's 'mojo' back.

Ben handed that game right to the Raiders - but only because he was allowed to by the Steelers management.

NM

polamalufan43
02-27-2007, 03:10 PM
Well, as to the jokes about his ethic mentioned in the article, I honestly think that they may have been overexaggerated, although I don't doubt them completely

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

alittlejazzbird
02-27-2007, 04:40 PM
In the recent series of sit-downs in the local Pittsburgh media, Joe Montana said that all quarterbacks have a year or so that they wish they could pretend never happened (I guess his was in Kansas City?). As far as I'm concerned, last year was Ben's mulligan, and this coming season is his do-over. He has the entire off-season to rest and get healthy, a new coaching staff and a fresh new blue-collar work ethic coming from his hungry-for-success head coach. If the same reports of slacking and laziness surface during this coming season, then I'll be worried.

If Ben had work ethic problems last season, the reasons are surely many, including a series of injuries that would have broken most of us on this board completely, and yes, probably some inflated ego that was a combination of his unprecedented success and his youth.

All indications prior to last season were that his work ethic was tremendous. I don't know how much film the guy studies -- Peyton Manning and Troy Polamalu are the only real film junkies I know of -- but as I have posted on other threads, NFL scouts and Ben's college coaches were unanimously quoted as saying how hard he worked, and I personally never heard rumors of slacking off during his first two NFL seasons.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this season unfolds for him. My gut tells me that if he can't flourish with a guy like Mike Tomlin as his head coach, then he can't flourish anywhere and he's not the quarterback we all believe he is and will be. Me personally, I think he's gonna be just fine, and that great things are ahead.

Atlanta Dan
02-27-2007, 05:13 PM
Actually, I think Montana's mid-career year he would have liked to throw back was 1986 - Montana sat out after the second or third week of the season for back surgery (although the rumor in those pre-Internet days was that he was in detox) until November, then got drilled by Jim Burt and knocked out of the game in a blowout playoff loss to the Giants in the Meadowlands.

That injury riddled 1986 season for Montana was in some ways equivalent to Ben's 2006, after which Montana had a series of great years from 1987-90 with the Niners. Ben hopefully bounces back that way!

Elvis
02-27-2007, 05:13 PM
:tt02: :tt02: :tt02:
Big ben is gonna be just fine, but he is Not
a 30-35 pass happy QB that most everyone is wanting right
now. We have to surround him with a sound running
game and a strong defense and there will be more
Super Bowl Parties In The Burgh!!!
:wave:

tony hipchest
02-27-2007, 05:43 PM
the guys on pti just discussed this article and they think people are getting a little revisionist because of the poor year (they both agree whith whiz that ben came back too soon both times)-

"2 out of 3 years ben was great so he mustve worked SOME"

TackleMeBen
02-27-2007, 06:18 PM
the guys on pti just discussed this article and they think people are getting a little revisionist because of the poor year (they both agree whith whiz that ben came back too soon both times)-

"2 out of 3 years ben was great so he mustve worked SOME"


Yeah he worked hard on being a DIVA! ok just kidding, but that is what they said on pti..lol

MommyDoc
02-28-2007, 12:41 AM
If you're interested in a good read on the subject, check out "You're Okay, It's Just a Bruise" by Rob Huizenga. After reading that, I don't put a hell of a lot of stock in a player being "medically cleared" by a team doctor, sorry. In a multi-billion dollar game where everybody wants to see the best 22 players from both teams lined up against each other on Sunday, the consideration of players' health (especially long term) takes a back seat. My opinion on this is quite strong, as you can see.

As a physician, I agree 100%. I respect Dr. Maroon and KNOW he would not have cleared Ben without pressure after his concussion in the Atlanta game. One of the reasons I left Workmans Comp Medicine was because of the conflict of interest such as this.

fansince'76
02-28-2007, 12:45 AM
As a physician, I agree 100%. I respect Dr. Maroon and KNOW he would not have cleared Ben without pressure after his concussion in the Atlanta game. One of the reasons I left Workmans Comp Medicine was because of the conflict of interest such as this.

Absolutely - it's the primary reason Huizenga left the Raiders as well, as I recall.

ChronoCross
02-28-2007, 12:54 AM
No matter how it is diced up and split apart and talked about there is only one person who can fix the season he had and that is Big Ben. He ether puts in the extra hours in the film room, on the field, become the leader he should be our he will be the talk again next year. It is all up to him now to bounce back and be the player we think he can be.

fansince'76
02-28-2007, 01:02 AM
No matter how it is diced up and split apart and talked about there is only one person who can fix the season he had and that is Big Ben. He ether puts in the extra hours in the film room, on the field, become the leader he should be our he will be the talk again next year. It is all up to him now to bounce back and be the player we think he can be.

Agreed. An offseason without almost killing himself on a 200 mph crotch rocket would help the cause greatly as well.

steel#1
02-28-2007, 12:39 PM
I'm sorry but this has to be a lot of BS. No QB coming into the NFL after his junior year can have the first 2 seasons this guy had and have a poor work ethic. We have already read since Tomlin took over that the play book was absurd with plays going back years from different coordinators, and yet Roethlisberger learned them and thrived. The only common theme during this time is the history of poor play after coming back from injury. He always has struggled even during the first couple of years after injury. One theme from last year--often injured. Plus there were other problems not involving Ben--the team was off and inconsistant--plus other were injured as well. I'd say the media is guilty of over-analysis. He'll be fine. As for being a diva--so what--I imagine the hits he took last year did a lot to take the over-inflated air out of his ego and made him humbler and hungrier. And we all know age and maturity will take care of the rest.

TackleMeBen
02-28-2007, 12:56 PM
Agreed. An offseason without almost killing himself on a 200 mph crotch rocket would help the cause greatly as well.

Yes, but he looks so good on a crotch rocket :thumbsup:

PAMillerGrrl83
02-28-2007, 11:30 PM
^^Beside the point, I hate those stupid things.

drew102e
03-01-2007, 11:58 AM
hes wrong, if batch is in the raiders game we win period, then with 9 wins sixth seed in the playoffs, then...who knows

Stainless Steel
03-01-2007, 12:09 PM
I have avoided this thread due to the fact that I didn't like the title. The guy has been through a horrible season, overcoming so many things that would effect anyone. he was underweight, had major surgery, and had his bell rung. Why are we questioning his work ethic? The man was not well. Period.

I agree with the previous posts that said he should have been benched and allowed Batch to do his thing as back up. Ben needed the rest. THAT has nothing to do with "work ethic".
It has to do with he was still suffering. He had no business being out there so soon. I would have been ticked if I were Batch.

DACEB
03-01-2007, 01:00 PM
Very well said Stainless Steel. Ben was not well, and that is why we have Batch who is a very good quality backup. I agree with drew102e also, if Batch had started against the Raiders we would have won and who knows.

That being said this is a new year, time to get to work Ben, Hines, Holmes, Washington and Miller. You all need to start early and get on the same page.

drew102e
03-01-2007, 04:07 PM
coaching error then, not work ethic in '06