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Old 08-10-2006, 11:42 AM   #7
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Default 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
"It seems every year there is some reason they are trying to doubt me. Small school, I was playing as a rookie and now this. I?m looking forward to proving to people that I?m up to the task."
~Ben Roethlisberger~

He's ready, Steelers fans. His ordeal over, his return will be complete come Saturday in Arizona, when football again becomes the focus and a career briefly interrupted resumes.
~SI aticle 2006~
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