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Old 08-26-2006, 05:45 AM   #1
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Default Ben's health eases loss

By Mike Prisuta
Saturday, August 26, 2006


PHILADELPHIA - Ben Roethlisberger had his busiest and least productive night of the preseason on Friday night at Lincoln Financial Field, but he walked off the field undamaged.
That's all the Steelers, 0-3 in the preseason following their 16-7 loss to the Eagles, needed to see.

"The way he's managed the game, the way he's performed on the field, I think it speaks for itself," coach Bill Cowher said. "I don't need to see much more than that.

"I like his mind-set. I like the way he's operating the offense. I just like where he's at, not just in games, but I watch it in practice, as well."

Roethlisberger threw his first interception of the preseason.

He also failed to position the Steelers for a score after previously leading a 10-play, 41-yard drive that ended with a missed 54-yard field goal on Aug. 12 at Arizona and a six-play, 55-yard, no-huddle march that concluded with a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson on Aug. 19 against Minnesota.

Roethlisberger attempted more passes (14) and completed more throws (nine) than he had in his previous two preseason games combined (6 for 8 for 59 yards, with one TD and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 134.9) last night.

He was also sacked once and hit four times.

The 52-yard, 41.4-rated performance contrasted with a training camp and a preseason that had been characterized by a newfound presence and a profound confidence.

Roethlisberger left the locker room last night before Cowher had concluded his remarks to the media.

But before leaving training camp, Roethlisberger had attributed this evolution to an epiphany of sorts that came upon him long before reporting to St. Vincent College.

"It was something before (organized team activities), I felt really good," Roethlisberger said.

His June 12 motorcycle accident delayed but failed to deter Roethlisberger from putting his development on display.

"When I first got out here, I almost felt like a rookie all over again," Roethlisberger said just before the Steelers broke camp. "But now it's starting to come back to me. I'm starting to feel comfortable, feeling really good with the way that I'm developing with the rest of the receivers and the line and with the way that the plays are being played out in my head.

"It's making better decisions. I'm able to see what's supposed to be made, the plays."

Backup quarterback Charlie Batch went 10 for 15 for 72 yards in relief of Roethlisberger, including a 23-yard TD pass to Wilson.

Other highlights included right guard Kendall Simmons playing center, second-year pro Chris Kemoeatu getting at shot at left guard as well as right and No. 3b pick Willie Reid handling all the punt-return chores.

"I like Willie," Cowher said. "I think he's real close (to winning the job).

"If we get some of these other (regular punt-return) guys back on that unit I think he'll be fine."

Punting challenger Mike Barr may have flubbed his final chance to supplant Chris Gardocki.

Barr held for kicker Jeff Reed in a preseason game for the first time in the third quarter. Reed missed from 50 yards out.

"It was not a good hold," Cowher said.

The Steelers conclude the preseason Thursday night against Carolina.

After that, Roethlisberger will purse in earnest goals that have been "cranked up a little bit now that we got a little ahead of schedule with winning a Super Bowl," something he first revealed in the spring.

"I'm just going to continue to try to be the best that I can be," he said.

The Steelers will settle for keeping him healthy until then.
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Old 08-26-2006, 06:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ben's health eases loss

Ben hasn`t played great pre season ball in three years. Yet his winning percentage when it counts, is second to none. Ben will get it done, and he will have the luxury of Hine Ward then, I hope
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