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83-Steelers-43 08-10-2006 11:17 AM

Ben Will Start Saturday
Ben will start on Saturday
Thursday, August 10, 2006

LATROBE, Pa. ? With one short sentence, Coach Bill Cowher settled an issue that has been percolating for eight straight weeks.

"Ben will start, and he will play for a short period of time, and I will leave it at that," said Cowher.

This should officially end the almost-daily questions/speculations about the physical effects of the motorcycle accident Ben Roethlisberger was involved in on the morning of June 12. Roethlisberger did require almost eight hours of surgery to repair facial fractures and a laceration on the back of his head, but he reported to St. Vincent College on time, he took part in every practice to this point, and he has looked like Ben Roethlisberger in every practice to this point.

Therefore, as the starting quarterback, Roethlisberger will start on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals at 4 p.m. And as the starting quarterback in the first preseason game of any season, Roethlisberger will play very little ? just like the established starters at every other position.

"As has been done in the past, the starters will play a series or two," said Cowher. "Hopefully we'll look crisp, and then we can get a look at a lot of the younger players.

"I'm not looking for anything from (Ben in this game)," said Cowher. "He's been fine. The biggest thing is from a conditioning standpoint, and we'll continue to monitor that. With the accident he was not able to train as he has in the past, but he has looked fine out here throwing the ball. He was starting to get a little tired early this week, but I like where he is, and he had a very good spring. He was at every offseason workout and was throwing the ball great. I like his frame of mind.

"I don't think there's anything to this point, maybe until he takes that first hit, which is the last bit of apprehension he may have," said Cowher. "I still think it's there; he says it's not. I think it is, because I think it would be for anybody. He hasn't been on any injury list, he's had some nagging things, but certainly nothing pertaining to the accident.

"I'm not worried about Ben. It's more about our football team and making sure we're all on the same page and we get back to where we need to be. We have a tough opponent in Miami, and in a short period of time.

Cowher said the following players would not play against the Cardinals:

Jerame Tuman (hamstring), and he might miss up to a week of practice; Joey Porter (knee), who just came off the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday; Trai Essex (groin), but he probably will be able to return to practice the week of Aug. 13; Brandon Joe (hamstring), but he probably will be able to return to practice the week of Aug. 13; Chukky Okobi, who had neck surgery on Wednesday and may miss between four-to-eight weeks; Hines Ward (hamstring) but he probably will be able to return to practice the week of Aug. 13; and Isaac West (knee), but he probably will be able to return to practice the week of Aug. 13.

Nate Washington will start at wide receiver in place of Ward, and Barrett Brooks will serve as the No. 2 left tackle in this game. Cowher also said that the bulk of both the punt returning and kickoff returning chores will be handled by Willie Reid and Santonio Holmes.

Following Roethlisberger at quarterback will be Charlie Batch, but Cowher said he also will play very little. Batch will be followed by Shane Boyd and then rookie Omar Jacobs.

"Omar and Shane will go back and forth," said Cowher. "We'll give Charlie some work, but he won't see a lot of time either."

With the free safety job apparently now down to a competition between Tyrone Carter and Ryan Scott, Cowher said those players will flip-flop in and out of the game against the Cardinals.

"They're going to get equal playing time this preseason," said Cowher about Carter and Clark. "I'm pleased with where both of those guys are, and I'm really not concerned about that position."

floodcitygirl 08-10-2006 11:19 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
GREAT news about Ben and as much as I had hoped for!!!

SteelCityMan786 08-10-2006 11:20 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
Alright now good to see Big Ben is ready to roll.

BlackNGold203 08-10-2006 11:22 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday

:cool: :cool: :cool:

nicesteel4life 08-10-2006 11:24 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
OH MY its about that time.......FOOTBALL!!!!!!

SteelerFanInCA 08-10-2006 11:26 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
That's great news. I know this might seem like kind of a wierd thing to say but I'm hoping Ben gets sacked on the very first play so he can put the whole "first time he gets hit" thing behind him.

siss 08-10-2006 11:42 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
I just wanted to say that I told everyone he would start this game and everyone said he wouldn't. So the news doesn't suprise me. And I am very very very very happy that he is starting!

oh and I found this article that basically says the same thing ive been saying all along!

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At an 11 a.m. news briefing today, Steelers coach Bill Cowher will answer the question of the ages.

This week's, anyway.

Will Ben Roethlisberger play in the exhibition opener in Arizona Saturday?

An entire region waits breathlessly ...

We've had a lot of practice doing that with Big Ben lately, haven't we?

Remember June 12?

Cowher is expected to green light Roethlisberger. He will announce Roethlisberger will start the game and play briefly, probably no more than a series or two, just enough to make a few handoffs, throw a couple of passes, maybe take a hit. It's what just about every NFL starting quarterback does in the first exhibition game to take the first steps toward getting ready for the long season.

As with all Cowher decisions, this one will be intensely scrutinized by all and criticized by many. You know how that argument will go. What's the rush? Why play Roethlisberger before you have to? Why risk injury to him so soon? Why not give him another week just to be sure?

It's understandable thinking.

It's also misguided thinking.

This Cowher decision is absolutely the right decision.

Roethlisberger is ready to play. He hasn't missed a beat since training camp began, just as he predicted. You wouldn't know he was in a horrific motorcycle accident not yet two months ago by watching him at work on the Saint Vincent College practice fields. He has looked fabulous. It's safe to say the doctors no longer have issues with him. If they don't, why should Cowher? Or anybody else?

Beyond that, Roethlisberger needs to play. He needs to take those first baby steps to get used to the incredible speed of the NFL game again. At the moment, he's not the same quarterback he was in February when he led the Steelers to the Super Bowl championship. He has to work to get back to that point again. All players do.

You might remember Roethlisberger didn't exactly light it up in the exhibition season a year ago. He played in all four games -- fairly extensively in the final three -- and didn't lead the first offense to one touchdown. He completed just 16 of his 36 passes for 145 yards, two interceptions and an abysmal 32.8 passer rating. He and his receivers were so bad that Cowher expressed public concern about the passing game as the Steelers headed into the regular season.

A big reason for the poor performances was the nature of the preseason games. A lot of players played so Cowher and his coaches could build their depth chart. The first offense didn't get a chance to develop much continuity. There was no game-planning for a specific opponent as there is during the regular season. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt didn't want to show too much of his offense in the meaningless games. On top of all that, Hines Ward's contract holdout didn't help.

But there's no question Roethlisberger needed the work, just as he needs the work now. It's important that he gets at least some this week because he probably will play little, if at all, in the final exhibition game against Carolina Aug. 31. The timing of that game is bad for the Steelers because they open the regular season against Miami just a week later. Last summer, when Roethlisberger played into the second quarter of the final preseason game in an attempt to get his act together, the team had 10 days before its season opener. That's only a three-day difference, but coaches are funny that way. They convince themselves a starter can recover from an injury in 10 days. They're not so sure about just a week. Cowher is not expected to take any chances with his stars.

There's one more reason Roethlisberger needs to play this week.

He needs to put the accident officially behind him, once and for all.

The Steelers need to do that.

It's not going to happen until Big Ben gets into a game. The guess here is he'll do just fine. He's such a tough kid. It's hard to imagine him even flinching a bit when that first defender brings pressure and puts a lick on him.

Still, Roethlisberger has to get out there and do it.

The sooner, the better.

Sure, Roethlisberger could get hurt. But he also could get hurt next week or the week after that or the week after that. Heck, he could get hurt in practice. In case you hadn't noticed, that's a pretty brutal game they play in the NFL.

That's why now is the right time to let Roethlisberger go.

This is one Cowher decision that should not be second-guessed

83-Steelers-43 08-10-2006 11:44 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday

Originally Posted by SteelerFanInCA
I know this might seem like kind of a wierd thing to say but I'm hoping Ben gets sacked on the very first play so he can put the whole "first time he gets hit" thing behind him.

Not at all. I was kind of hoping Polamalu or Haggans would have lit him up in camp in order to get it out of the way with.....

HometownGal 08-10-2006 11:52 AM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
Thanks for the story, 83. I admit I was skeptical about Ben playing in the first pre-season game, but if both Ben and The Chin feel he is ready, that's good enough for me.

GO STEELERS and KUDOS TO BEN! :cool: Hurry up Saturday and get here, will ya? :bouncy:

pitt 08-10-2006 12:42 PM

Re: Ben Will Start Saturday
:danceshout: Now its feels like football time :danceshout:

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