View Full Version : Ben hoping to play sunday...

11-15-2005, 12:16 AM

Steelers' backup plan effective

Roethlisberger likely to play Sunday, but even if he's not able, the Steelers have a leg up on most NFL teams because they have a reliable backup plan at quarterback
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers might know by tomorrow whether Ben Roethlisberger can play Sunday in Baltimore. It will be their first practice this week and his level of participation -- or lack of -- could tip off whether he's ready to resume his duties as starting quarterback.

The optimism is high that he will return to play for the first time since Oct. 23, when his knee was injured in Cincinnati.

Roethlisberger threw passes during warmups Sunday night at Heinz Field and then patrolled the Steelers' sideline without evidence of the limp that was noticeable at midweek. Sunday is the game doctors and coaches believed Roethlisberger could return to play after he had surgery on his right knee Nov. 3 to remove a torn meniscus.

"I hope so," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "There's no question, to get to where we need to get to we have to have him on the field, healthy."

The broken little finger metacarpal on Charlie Batch's right hand Sunday night clouded the issue some. Batch will miss what coach Bill Cowher predicted would be a couple of games. That makes Tommy Maddox the backup if Roethlisberger starts and Maddox the starter if he does not. In the latter scenario, Roethlisberger likely would serve as the No. 2 quarterback and receiver Antwaan Randle El would be No. 3. Former Pitt quarterback Rod Rutherford has been on the practice squad the past week.

"I'll go with whoever we have," Cowher said. "The next person on this football team has to step up. That's how our football team works."

Despite Maddox's poor play in his only start of the season Oct. 16 against Jacksonville, the Steelers believe they are fortunate to have him and Batch behind Roethlisberger. Maddox became their starting quarterback in 2002 and remained as such until his arm was injured in the second game of last season, coincidentally at Baltimore.

"I don't know if any other team has three guys who have the number of starts that we have," Maddox said. "You see it around the league. You have to give the Steelers' front office and coach Cowher credit."

Batch has 48 NFL starts, Maddox 35 and Roethlisberger 19.

What, for example, would happen to the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts if Peyton Manning were injured? They have just one backup, Jim Sorgi, a sixth-round draft pick from Wisconsin last year who has not thrown a pass this season.

"That's something we talked about early when Ben went down -- you're not really worried about the position because there is depth there," Batch said.

Ward, who caught eight passes for 124 yards against the Browns to become the Steelers' career receptions leader with 543, said Roethlisberger is itching to return.

"I know he's frustrated. He wants to be out there competing. He came to me and apologized that he wasn't the guy who threw it to me to get that one record," said Ward, who passed Hall of Famer John Stallworth Sunday to become the Steelers' all-time receptions leader.

"Ben's the man here, and it's great for me knowing I'm going to be here for a while to watch his development as a quarterback. I know it's frustrating for him because things were going well and he ended up getting hurt."

Ward said it's not an ideal situation for any offense to go through several quarterbacks in a season.

"It's kind of hard to get a rapport with the quarterback when every week there's a different quarterback. It can get frustrating at times. But Tommy's been through it. Did he play particularly well in his last performance? No, but we all didn't. With the quarterback, you get a lot of the blame with some of your losses sometimes."

The Steelers have won two of three this season with their two backup quarterbacks. They'd like to keep it that way for a while and welcome Roethlisberger back this week.

11-15-2005, 12:22 AM
i still don't feel confident in maddox, he's garbage and hopefully ben can come back cause maddox will lose us this game for sure

11-15-2005, 12:26 AM
Personally I'd feel better if Batch were in there too if Ben cant go..but we gotta do what we gotta do..nobody said it was gonna be easy right!

11-15-2005, 12:27 AM
Hoping to see Ben come back this week. I forget who brought it up, but it would be good to have Ben get back in there before the Indy game.

11-15-2005, 12:29 AM
Most definately girl... coming back this week, if he's able will do wonders for getting back into the rythmn and timing w/ the WR's. Which will go a long way as the schedule unfolds.. especially if we wanna bring down the colts after we sweep the ratbirds.

11-15-2005, 01:12 AM
I think what Ward said was interesting. Tommy played horrible vs the Jags, that is for sure - but so did everybody else. Line never got going, we got no kind of running game going, it was a bad performance against what will probably be a playoff game, and we still had the game won.
I would prefer another week of rest for Ben, and if Batch didn't get hurt, I think he would be starting this week regardless of Ben's status. But if we got to roll with Tommy, then that's what we got to do. I don't think you can say if Tommy plays we lose for sure. If we handle our business and dominate them in the other aspects of the game LIKE WE SHOULD (Kyle Boller - 3 ints), and if Tommy doesnt make bad mistakes and can manage the offense, no reason we should lose.

11-15-2005, 01:39 AM
i don't know defense played great that game, but maddox did everything he could do to lose that game, throwing three retarded picks ain't the lines fault it maddox fault for thinking he's a good qb

11-15-2005, 01:16 PM
I hope Ben plays.It'll get him in a rythym for the game at Indy.

11-15-2005, 01:41 PM
I hope Ben plays.It'll get him in a rythym for the game at Indy.

I agree. Indy's defense is too good this year. I think he needs to get a warm up game before to get his timing back with his receivers and a feel for the speed of the game. Only if he is not like a sitting duck out there though. I would rather lose one game with Maddox than lose Ben for the season.

11-15-2005, 02:42 PM
I can`t wait for a healthy Ben to get back! A healthy Ben. We can beat the Ratbirds without him.

11-15-2005, 02:58 PM
The colts defense does have some chinks in the armor..they are vastly improved for sure, but u can still run on them..and especially if u run right at freeney..just have kreider make a bee line right at him, just like he does w/ ray lewis and it can be done.