View Full Version : Steelers: Roethlisberger excited about Titans game

09-09-2009, 07:37 PM
Steelers: Roethlisberger excited about Titans game
September 9, 12:05 PM
Pittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

PITTSBURGH - There was a lot of talk prior to the 2009 schedules being made that the Steelers and Ravens would meet in the NFL season opener. The Ravens cried foul to the league and didn't want to meet the Steelers in prime time, so who better than the Tennessee Titans to open the year.

"It was a good match up the first time," Roethlisberger said. "I’m sure it got a lot of viewers, hard-mouthed football. I’m sure the NFL and the fans want to see it.

The two teams once fought it out in the old AFC Central Division and there is no love lost between the two teams. When they were the Oilers prior to the move to Nashville, they met twice in the AFC championship game and until the Titans moved to the AFC South in 2002, the teams met twice a year in some of the NFL's fiercest rivalry games.

The game still gets the blood flowing in players, and this will be no different especially after last years 31-14 Titans win in Nashville.

After that game, LenDale White and a few other Titans disrespected the Steelers by stomping on a Terrible Towel. While some players made it known that they would remember the antics and White has refused to shut his mouth, Roethlisberger pretty much blew it off.

"You know what, we are two different football teams now, new players, new people," Roethlsiberger said. "Obviously there are some similarities, but the past is the past and that was last year and we need to move on and focus on this year, as I’m sure they are as well."

Roethlisberger had one of his better games when it came to passing numbers against the Titans in that contest, completing 25 of 39 passes for a season-high 329 yards and two touchdowns. But he also fumbled the ball and tossed two interceptions in the contest.

A key to that was the constant pressure he was under from the Titans defensive line, especially Jason Jones who was filling in for Albert Haynesworth at the time.

"Obviously, when you don’t have [Albert] Haynesworth in there you are missing a big guy and a Pro Bowler and an elite player," Roethlisberger said. "But Jones did a great job of filling in. That is just a credit to him and the kind of personnel they have at that defensive line position."

He also praised the Titans line as a whole.

"I tell you what, that defensive line they have more than just four guys," Roethlsiberger said. "They can rotate seven, eight guys in and it doesn’t seem like they really skip a beat. That is going to be an area of focus for us this week."

One of the things that Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday, was how hard it is to bring Roethlisberger down.

"To contain him is all well and good, but you can’t," Fisher said. "That’s when he makes his big plays. You’ve got to be smart about what you’re doing, especially smart and stay in your pass rush lanes"

Although the Steelers line has come under much scrutiny, Roethlisberger defended his lineman, and said his ability to move around in the pocket is attributed to his lineman.

"That group up front is awesome They have a lot of heart and you can’t coach heart,
Roethlisberger said. " I’m really proud the way they finished up last year, but this is a new year and we have new guys in new places. So it is time to start over."

While Roethlisberger returns most of his weapons, including Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward, one player who was a key cog to the Steelers unit, Nate Washington will be on the opposing sidelines.

The undrafted speedster left via free-agency to become the Titans No. 1 target, although his status for Thursday night's game is still in question.

"It is sad to see him go, glad he got a home and got a contract," Roethlisberger said. " I’m really happy for him. The Titans are better with Nate. Nate is a great player.He is a deep-play threat. He is a great wide receiver, who really has gotten better every year that he has played. "