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View Full Version : AFTER THE FALL: Wiser Roethlisberger looks to return to form in 2007


GutterflowerSteel
05-31-2007, 07:28 PM
I can't post the link because I don't have enough posts, but this is from SI.com - Michael Silver's column. Here's an excerpt:

Ben Roethlisberger and his father, Ken, were driving the quarterback's dogs to the vet the other day in Pittsburgh (supply your own Michael Vick joke here), and the subject turned to the tumult of 2006. They began listing everything the young passer had experienced over the past year -- the life-threatening motorcycle crash, the appendix that nearly burst, the rocky season, the departure of a coaching legend -- and it all felt so overwhelming.

"When you really think back on everything you went through," Ken told his son, "it was a lot of stuff."

That realization triggered a few seconds of contemplative silence from Big Ben, who was driving his new black pickup truck and, for you non-Libertarians who fret about such things, was indeed taking the necessary safety precautions.

"I was wearing my seat belt," he assured me last Sunday during a phone interview. "I even had a helmet and shoulder pads on."

Yes, he was joking about that last part, and that in and of itself is a good thing. As the NFL's youngest quarterback to have captured a Super Bowl tries to re-establish himself as one of the league's brightest young stars, add levity to the long list of attributes that can help him pull it off.

Last season, Roethlisberger was understandably a bit touchy about the gruesome crash that very nearly killed him -- and which, even as he underwent seven hours of surgery with injuries to his jaw, head, sinus cavity, knees and mouth, brought out an ample share of bad-taste yucksters and righteous critics blasting him for not having worn a helmet.

"It kind of sucked," he conceded. "They didn't even know if I was going to be all right, and a lot of people were all over me. They were making jokes about a guy that almost lost his life. I don't know how that's funny, but I guess that's the way it is.

"The good thing is that my friends and I are at the point now where we can laugh about the crash and the appendix and all that stuff. The other day, my buddy Brian tripped and hit his head, and he gets up and yells, 'Damn, I should've been wearing my helmet.' "

Last season, the competitor in Roethlisberger refused to concede that either the accident or his emergency appendectomy four days before Pittsburgh's season-opening victory over the Miami Dolphins (he returned 10 days after surgery and started the team's final 15 games) took a toll on his performance. His disappointing numbers included a 75.4 passer rating (down from 98.1 and 98.6 in his first two seasons), a league-high 23 interceptions and, most troubling to Big Ben, an 8-8 record that deprived the Steelers of a shot at defending their championship.

Now that he's somewhat removed from the turmoil, Roethlisberger realizes he had a great deal to overcome. And what excites him most about a potentially redemptive 2007 season is that, if all goes according to plan, he'll be asked to assume a greater share of responsibility than ever before. He'll make blocking adjustments at the line of scrimmage and get to show his improvisational flair, honed at Miami of Ohio, with the installation of the no-huddle offense. And he'll be coached by a man, 35-year-old rookie Mike Tomlin, whom he believes implicitly will trust him more than his former boss did.

Thrust into the starting lineup early in his rookie season after then-starter Tommy Maddox's injury, Roethlisberger, straight out of the MAC, accomplished more than any rookie quarterback since Dan Marino 21 years earlier. But even as Big Ben helped guide Pittsburgh to a 15-1 record and an AFC Championship game appearance -- and, in '05, followed up with the team's first Super Bowl victory in 26 years -- he felt he was treated like a little kid by Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

To be fair, it could be argued that Cowher's approach was somewhat merited: Roethlisberger struggled to learn the offense as a rookie, incessantly glancing down at the cheat sheet on his wristband during games and sometimes calling phantom plays in the huddle. His supreme self-confidence was not matched by a commensurate zest for film study, as he admitted to me shortly before Super Bowl XL.

That Cowher had lectured his quarterback about the need to wear a motorcycle helmet long before the horrific crash only reinforced the notion that Roethlisberger was the petulant teenager to The Chin's grumpy dad.

Cowher resigned in January after 15 seasons as Pittsburgh's head coach, and three months later Roethlisberger made some mildly critical comments about his former boss, telling reporters their "relationship wasn't great." In our conversation Sunday he clarified his earlier remarks, saying, "It wasn't the fact that I disliked Cowher. I like Cowher a lot, and I think he respected me. It's just that he'd been there so long, and I was kind of the young kid -- and that's how I was treated.

"I was always going to be that young guy to Cowher. I mean, think about it: He was in the league longer than I was alive. So of course he saw me as someone who needed to be treated that way."

stillers4me
05-31-2007, 07:39 PM
I think a seasoned, mature, and healthy Big Ben is going to be scary good............and I can't wait to watch all the talking bubbleheads tripping over each to say how they knew how good he was all along. Scary good and dangerous.........oh yeah!

BeuffordLTD
05-31-2007, 07:40 PM
Nice read.

I don't care who you are, (age, health, etc) if you go under anesthesia twice in the span of a few weeks, it is going to affect you.

I don't want to make excuses, I'm just sayin'.

Black@Gold Forever32
05-31-2007, 07:47 PM
I'm sure more Ben is taking shots at Cowher are coming....lol

fansince'76
05-31-2007, 07:50 PM
I'm sure more Ben is taking shots at Cowher are coming....lol

You took the words right out of my mouth, B&GF32.

Stlrs4Life
05-31-2007, 08:23 PM
Well, let's hope Ben has all the BS behind him now, and we can move forward.

SteelCzar76
05-31-2007, 08:30 PM
Well, let's hope Ben has all the BS behind him now, and we can move forward.



"Nuff said".

SteelerWatch
05-31-2007, 08:31 PM
Sometimes a wake-up call is necessary. I think we've seen a lot of growth in Ben this off-season. To think of what he was as an "inexperienced kid" -- and even at just 27, I can call him a kid -- it's almost frightening to think of what he can be so long as he doesn't backslide into the childishness he exhibited off the field -- and, at times, on the field -- in his first three seasons. The accident was the wake-up call, and he's now had a chance to claw his way off the rocks and take a long, hard look at what happened. I think the coaching change will benefit Ben more than anyone, and I think we'll see the same skills we saw in his first two seasons, but now with the decision-making abilities of a seasoned vet. And some people -- myself included -- just don't do well in positions in which we are forced to follow. For Ben, I think additional responsibility will be an infinitely larger help than a hinderance, and I predict a level of QB play that Pittsburgh has never seen before. Above and beyond the best seasons of Bradshaw, O'Donnell and even Roethlisberger himself. Heck, you can throw in the best seasons of guys like Marino and Unitas. This season will simply be the best display of quaterbacking we've ever seen.

steelersfanmx
05-31-2007, 09:11 PM
Well, let's hope Ben has all the BS behind him now, and we can move forward.

Im agree!..

GBMelBlount
05-31-2007, 09:31 PM
If Ben is half as good as he thinks he is, he will be the best QB ever. Look at his High School, College, & Pro stats prior to last year. He is incredibly gifted and has the confidence. If he is fully healed, buckles down, focuses & matures, with his new weapons & coaching, he could be unbeatable.

Preacher
05-31-2007, 09:57 PM
This is going to be his fourth year. This is the year that QB's usually really take off if they are going to. If Ben is involved in the teams offensive formation, and the playbook is simplified (just how big WAS that play book?) I can't wait to see what he will be able to do!.

LarryNJ
05-31-2007, 10:35 PM
I predict a level of QB play that Pittsburgh has never seen before. Above and beyond the best seasons of Bradshaw, O'Donnell and even Roethlisberger himself. Heck, you can throw in the best seasons of guys like Marino and Unitas. This season will simply be the best display of quaterbacking we've ever seen.


Wow that's a pretty bold prediction. We all can only hope that you are 3/4 correct. :smile:

Big7BenHOF
05-31-2007, 11:45 PM
Here's the link

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/michael_silver/05/31/bring.on.weekend/index.html

Galax Steeler
06-01-2007, 04:04 AM
I thin ben will have a great year and will do great in the no huddle.

Elvis
06-01-2007, 06:19 AM
Well, let's hope Ben has all the BS behind him now, and we can move forward.
This quote says it all...:tt02:

Buzz05
06-01-2007, 07:21 AM
He's come on and kind of brought some new, youthful playfulness to all the guys, and he seems to have brought a new, uplifting spirit."


That sticks out the most to me. He seems to have taken to Tomlins playful nature and from what he said so have the rest of the guys. An uplifted and youthful Hines is never a bad thing. I would love to see an extra step in Hines' River Dance

BIGBENFASTWILLIE
06-01-2007, 01:15 PM
How nice would it be if Ben was the MVP this year.......

That would be awesome......

The Duke
06-01-2007, 02:33 PM
How nice would it be if Ben was the MVP this year.......

That would be awesome......

or comeback player of the year :wink02:

stlrtruck
06-01-2007, 02:48 PM
It is good to see Ben making good headlines this year! As for his comments about the former coach, I don't know if I'd call them taking shots at the Chin but more so just telling it how it was.

I mean does anyone disagree that the Chin had a certain expectation about his rookies and it rarely included them starting the first season unless, like Ben, injury dictated it. Everyone knows that QBs are seldom trusted with the playbook or play calling, let alone the design of the offense.

I just hope all his talk now pays off later!

GutterflowerSteel
06-01-2007, 03:27 PM
I think a seasoned, mature, and healthy Big Ben is going to be scary good............and I can't wait to watch all the talking bubbleheads tripping over each to say how they knew how good he was all along. Scary good and dangerous.........oh yeah!

I agree - articles like this get me really pumped for the upcoming season :bouncy:

Thanks for offering to post the link to the article for me. I couldn't pm you back because I don't have 50 posts yet :dang:

siss
06-01-2007, 03:55 PM
"Do I want to be that quarterback I was two years ago? No. I want to be better."


The rest of the league should be scared at that thought...I hope he gives defensive cordinators a headach...:cheer::tt02::tt02::tt02:

Preacher
06-02-2007, 03:19 AM
In hindsight... Last year might have been the best thing that could have happened to this franchise.

Ben seems to have his head in the books and on the field now. Other players are down in Florida working out together (which I don't mind. IF they can work out better away from Pittsburgh, then so be it. I would probably be one of those as well. I seem to always need a change of scenery every so often). You can bet receivers and Ben are getting on the same page NOW.

This may be a great year!

Galax Steeler
06-02-2007, 04:13 AM
I have to agree with you preacher a shake up in the orginization could help the whole team.

Edman
06-02-2007, 09:47 AM
We know Ben has the tools and intangibles to be a special QB in Pittsburgh let alone the league. Even during last year's crappy season he showed signs of brilliance. Of course, no QB is going to be great if he's on his back all the time. The OL has to be fixed.

I want Ben to stick it to the ****y Ravens and Bengals fans who say he's no good after one year. They're making me sick.

Atlanta Dan
06-02-2007, 01:20 PM
There was thus nugget buried in the article from Jason Taylor:


As Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, a Pittsburgh native who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, told me Wednesday, "They've got a mess up there. They've got a new coach, players questioning whether he should be there. He's got to find a way to demand some respect. I don't know what to expect, to be honest."

No context for how Taylor has any pertinent insights on the Steelers (unless he has been talking to his new teammate) but FWIW the Dolphins are not exactly in Indy's or New England's class when it comes to having a stable operation - pot, meet kettle.

Edman
06-02-2007, 02:51 PM
There was thus nugget buried in the article from Jason Taylor:


As Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, a Pittsburgh native who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, told me Wednesday, "They've got a mess up there. They've got a new coach, players questioning whether he should be there. He's got to find a way to demand some respect. I don't know what to expect, to be honest."

No context for how Taylor has any pertinent insights on the Steelers (unless he has been talking to his new teammate) but FWIW the Dolphins are not exactly in Indy's or New England's class when it comes to having a stable operation - pot, meet kettle.

If anything, Mr. Taylor should keep his mouth shut and keep his opinions on other teams out of the media. He doesn't have to look far to see an organizational mess. He can look at his own team, especially with the recent fiascos as of late. At least the Steelers organization had some success lately.

stillers4me
06-02-2007, 02:51 PM
As Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, a Pittsburgh native who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, told me Wednesday, "They've got a mess up there. They've got a new coach, players questioning whether he should be there. He's got to find a way to demand some respect. I don't know what to expect, to be honest."



:blah::blah::blah:......are they in for a big surprise......:helmet:

Preacher
06-02-2007, 03:22 PM
:blah::blah::blah:......are they in for a big surprise......:helmet:

Yep!

:thumbsup:

Newzfoxjr
06-02-2007, 04:53 PM
Ben is my favorite player in the league, I'm glad to see him taking this seriously. He'll be back big this year.

Steeldude
06-02-2007, 05:06 PM
IMO, BR has failed to improve at all since coming to the NFL. his progress has been stagnant and that is because of whisenhunt and whipple not pushing him. he looked pretty healthy last year to me. we can all cling to that excuse as to why he played so poorly. but i saw the same passes and mistakes last year as i did the seasons prior. only this time he wasn't so lucky.

the guy needs to stop partying and realize he has a long way to go to be a successful QB rather than one who is told not to make mistakes.

fansince'76
06-02-2007, 05:23 PM
There was thus nugget buried in the article from Jason Taylor:


As Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, a Pittsburgh native who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, told me Wednesday, "They've got a mess up there. They've got a new coach, players questioning whether he should be there. He's got to find a way to demand some respect. I don't know what to expect, to be honest."

No context for how Taylor has any pertinent insights on the Steelers (unless he has been talking to his new teammate) but FWIW the Dolphins are not exactly in Indy's or New England's class when it comes to having a stable operation - pot, meet kettle.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Dolphins also make a change at HC very recently? Mr. Taylor needs to worry about his own team and treat himself to a big steaming cup of STFU.

tony hipchest
06-02-2007, 05:30 PM
IMO, BR has failed to improve at all since coming to the NFL. his progress has been stagnant and that is because of whisenhunt and whipple not pushing him. he looked pretty healthy last year to me. we can all cling to that excuse as to why he played so poorly. but i saw the same passes and mistakes last year as i did the seasons prior. only this time he wasn't so lucky.

the guy needs to stop partying and realize he has a long way to go to be a successful QB rather than one who is told not to make mistakes.i gotta put alot of that on the coaching staff. im not sure if it was because of cowher or the rooneys, that they didnt even employ a quarterbacks coach until 2001, but looking how jeff reed wanted a simple practice tool to help his place kicking and cowher said "no", im thinking it was cowher.

im really beginning cowher wanted to move up and get deangello hall or dunta robinson in the draft and colbert and robinson told him to deal with taylor and big ben. its possible he hancuffed their development and no big suprise they seem to be the 2 players most excited about the change.

tony hipchest
06-02-2007, 05:46 PM
Mr. Taylor needs to worry about his own team and treat himself to a big steaming cup of STFU.or perhaps a bowl of soup:

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q23/shortyshane_2006/stfu2.jpg

like atlanta dan implied, its obvious porter has been filling taylors head full of crap. i guess we can all be glad tomlin doesnt have the belichick hype machine behind him like nick saban did.

its good to see porter and his new team mates are bonding so well though. he must think harrison is going to suck replacing him in the line-up.

fansince'76
06-02-2007, 07:32 PM
like atlanta dan implied, its obvious porter has been filling taylors head full of crap.

Yeah, it's kinda obvious Peezy has been feeding Taylor some of his sour grapes.

Edman
06-02-2007, 07:32 PM
I hope Ex-Bungle Ken Anderson can turn Ben into a pro and develop him. I haven't heard any input from him yet.

siss
06-02-2007, 10:27 PM
You gotta give Ken Anderson a break...he has seen the black and light by coming to the team!

SteelCityMan786
06-02-2007, 10:44 PM
I think a seasoned, mature, and healthy Big Ben is going to be scary good............and I can't wait to watch all the talking bubbleheads tripping over each to say how they knew how good he was all along. Scary good and dangerous.........oh yeah!

Yep, same here.

What the reporters will do a lot of-------->:blah:

steelcity58
06-02-2007, 11:37 PM
I don't get the Cowher/Ben hatred thing at all...

Cowher was/is one of the best coaches to ever walk a sideline.

Ben has the tools both physically and is instinctive...not smart...but instinctive in the pocket, and one of the best QB's the Steelers have ever had..if not for TB.

I'm unsure about this Tomlin guy and his laid back approach.

Noll...was not laid back.

Cowher...was not laid back.

Preacher
06-03-2007, 09:50 AM
I don't get the Cowher/Ben hatred thing at all...

Cowher was/is one of the best coaches to ever walk a sideline.

Ben has the tools both physically and is instinctive...not smart...but instinctive in the pocket, and one of the best QB's the Steelers have ever had..if not for TB.

I'm unsure about this Tomlin guy and his laid back approach.

Noll...was not laid back.

Cowher...was not laid back.

How do you get that Tomlin is laid back? he seems to be in the office more then Cowher, pushing the team harder then Cowher did last year, and getting a lot of good early feedback. Noll was the same way. Actually, out of the three, Cowher is the odd man out, walking up and down the sideline spitting and fuming. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. But that is not the ONLY way to coach, and not doing that doesn't mean another coach is laid back (Cowher not doing it last year however, DOES seem to impy that).

Smashmouth225
06-03-2007, 10:09 AM
There was thus nugget buried in the article from Jason Taylor:


As Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, a Pittsburgh native who is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, told me Wednesday, "They've got a mess up there. They've got a new coach, players questioning whether he should be there. He's got to find a way to demand some respect. I don't know what to expect, to be honest."

No context for how Taylor has any pertinent insights on the Steelers (unless he has been talking to his new teammate) but FWIW the Dolphins are not exactly in Indy's or New England's class when it comes to having a stable operation - pot, meet kettle.
Wow all this coming from a Dolphins player, didn't this team win like 6 games and coach bailed out on them to go coach in college. Talking about a mess JT should look at his team make up if he thinks the Dolphins are in good shape. Didn't the fans boo the FO and Cameron with the selection of Ted Ginn Jr. with the 9th pick?

stillers4me
06-03-2007, 10:46 AM
I don't think Ben hated Cowher at all. I think he just felt that Cowher didn't trust him enough and being the youngster that he is, felt slighted by it. Cowher had good reason to doubt Ben last year.......but he let him play anyway when he really should have just put Batch in instead of letting Ben blow a couple of those games. (I'm not saying 8-8 was tootally Ben's fault). That's on Cowhers shoulders......IMO. I'll always wonder what would have happened last year if the accident never happened......I think Ben and the rest of the team will be better and more focused this year because of last season. What's the saying.......what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger? It was the perfect time for a coaching change. They were humbled by last season and now they have the opportunity to focus and start over with a clean slate.........everybody must prove themselves, from the head coach on down.

Smashmouth225
06-03-2007, 11:26 AM
I think Big Ben will tear the league up this tear. I'm not looking for 4000-5000 passing yards but @ least 3500 and 28 tds and 14 int. Excuses are like ***holes and everyone has one so i'm going to say the accident and the emergency surgery did play a part in Ben's struggles. That is not the only reason though; O-line sucked big time and i'm going to put that on both the coaches and the players. It's obvious after XL these dudes(O-line) forgot they had a title to defend. Isn't it the coaches reponsibility to get these guys ready. This is the same group that during the SB run played lights out. I don't recall @ anytime during this run Big Ben getting crushed like he did. The line has always a strenght and one of the best in the NFL to fall like it did was sad to watch. Jeff Hartings was the weak link on the line believe that. Watch tape against Jacksonville, San Diego or even Oakland and watch how the middle was getting blown up. I'm not worried about Big Ben but the big guys up front has got to handle there business. It's no reason they shouldn't get it done they have done it before.

The Duke
06-03-2007, 11:40 AM
I think Big Ben will tear the league up this tear. I'm not looking for 4000-5000 passing yards but @ least 3500 and 28 tds and 14 int. Excuses are like ***holes and everyone has one so i'm going to say the accident and the emergency surgery did play a part in Ben's struggles. That is not the only reason though; O-line sucked big time and i'm going to put that on both the coaches and the players. It's obvious after XL these dudes(O-line) forgot they had a title to defend. Isn't it the coaches reponsibility to get these guys ready. This is the same group that during the SB run played lights out. I don't recall @ anytime during this run Big Ben getting crushed like he did. The line has always a strenght and one of the best in the NFL to fall like it did was sad to watch. Jeff Hartings was the weak link on the line believe that. Watch tape against Jacksonville, San Diego or even Oakland and watch how the middle was getting blown up. I'm not worried about Big Ben but the big guys up front has got to handle there business. It's no reason they shouldn't get it done they have done it before.

Great post, yeah Hartings seemed weak at times, but also good at other times. I'm not looking for Ben to have great stats, just for him to win and stay healthy. :helmet:

delhess
06-03-2007, 11:57 AM
If Ben is half as good as he thinks he is, he will be the best QB ever. Look at his High School, College, & Pro stats prior to last year. He is incredibly gifted and has the confidence. If he is fully healed, buckles down, focuses & matures, with his new weapons & coaching, he could be unbeatable.


but be prepared for the critics. if ben does start throwing for 300 yards a game, he still will not earn the respect of some people. i cannot believe that eli manning gets all the credit from the media that he does, while no one (in the media) will put ben in the top 5 quarterbacks in nfl. almost all the shows i listen to on the radio would rate eli above ben, and i think that is CRAZY.

Smashmouth225
06-03-2007, 01:34 PM
Big Ben has put up #'s that probably will not get touched anytime soon. 13 straight wins as a rookie plus following year SB victory youngest QB ever. I guess that does not count for anything. I know its all about what have you done for me lately but IMO that should count for something. There is no way we go 15-1 and win a Super Bowl w/Maddox at the QB position. The critics should back off of Ben. Eli was injury free and struggled big time last year. I wonder what these guys(media) be drinking or smoking?

GeneralRobinson
06-03-2007, 02:06 PM
I think first down and red zone passing effectiveness will be the key factor in evaluating the improvement of Ben as a quarterback. Will he be able to read defenses and pick up more than 5 yards on first down? Will he force a pass in the red zone which results in a turnover vs a minimum of 3 points which was a huge factor last last year? We know he has the arm strength and the athletic ability to keep plays alive. His improvement those situations will elevate the team to a playoff caliber level.

fansince'76
06-03-2007, 06:43 PM
i cannot believe that eli manning gets all the credit from the media that he does, while no one (in the media) will put ben in the top 5 quarterbacks in nfl. almost all the shows i listen to on the radio would rate eli above ben, and i think that is CRAZY.

I agree - the talking heads seem to think that if they keep hyping Eli up, he's somehow going to become a carbon copy of his brother. I know he's still young, but IMO, he'll NEVER approach what his brother is as a QB.

delhess
06-03-2007, 07:29 PM
the way i look at the quarterback position, it is a lot of x's and o's, but all the smarts in the world, (and skill) doesn't make you a leader, and that (leadership) in the end is what it takes to rally a team. look at philly last year: is garcia a "better" qb then mcnabb? no. garcia is a better, more likable LEADER. i think payton struggled with confindence from his team as well. that's just my opinion. colts fans would prob. hang me for saying that:)

SteelerWatch
06-03-2007, 09:38 PM
Cowher was/is one of the best coaches to ever walk a sideline.

True, but his track record when it counted wasn't all that great. Not to knock him, because I loved the guy as our HC, but he had a tendency to go soft when it was all on the line in the playoffs.

Ben has the tools both physically and is instinctive...not smart...but instinctive in the pocket, and one of the best QB's the Steelers have ever had..if not for TB.

Ben is actually very intelligent, just not too mature at times. He ran out of a no-huddle offense in college, which puts the majority of the decision-making squarely on the shoulders of the QB -- and he did it exceptionally well, especially for a small school.

I'm unsure about this Tomlin guy and his laid back approach.

Quiet and Nurturing != Laid Back. Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." In other words, the best way to get a point across to someone is to say it in a way they will understand and not be turned off by, but to say it firmly nonetheless. Tomlin learned this from Tony Dungy -- who learned it from Chuck Noll. Chuck had a very easily ignited fiery side, but he was also much the same as Tomlin.