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Old 01-13-2011, 06:07 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger
Thursday, January 13, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11013/1117585-66.stm

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has threw 17 touchdown passes this season.

That four-game suspension NFL commissioner Roger Goodell delivered to Ben Roethlisberger to start the season might have had another effect that few could have anticipated. It helped to improve his throwing motion.

Roethlisberger took the month he could not appear at the Steelers' facility to work with quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr., and he tinkered with his delivery.

"He worked extremely hard when he was off on his accuracy and changed his motion a little bit, and it's paid off for him all season," said Bruce Arians, the Steelers' offensive coordinator.

"He shortened his delivery a little bit and worked extremely hard with George Whitfield in that time, and George helped him out fundamentally. It was kind of like a golfer changing his stroke, it was minor but he really gets it out faster."

A quicker release has been cited for Roethlisberger's career-low five interceptions and his 32 sacks, which, while not necessarily low over 12 games, represents an improvement over his previous four seasons.

Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception in his past 158 passes, or since the last time the Steelers played Baltimore, Dec. 5.

The quarterback explained that the delivery change was simple and one many quarterbacks use -- instead of holding the ball in two hands chest-high, he now brings it up closer to his chin, which results in less movement and a shorter windup.

"Holding the ball higher," Roethlisberger said, "helps me what [Whitfield] calls 'keeping it loaded' rather than keeping it down low where I used to hold it and then you have to wind up ... you get it out quicker."

Whitfield, who runs a private quarterback-training firm in San Diego, suggested the change to Roethlisberger when they began working together in September. He had used the same motion since high school, and no one suggested he change, likely because he had been so successful.

"I had heard of it before but I never did it because I didn't think it mattered," Roethlisberger said. "I tried it because I had a bad elbow problem, and it solved that problem, too. I don't know what it is, but my elbow doesn't seem to hurt as much."

Roethlisberger also learned to drive off his right leg more, although it became more difficult when his foot was broken.

"I just worked on being able to drive with that leg, pushing off a lot better. That's why the foot is such a big deal and, when it hurts, you can't drive into it well."

Roethlisberger said he had "a little setback" with his right foot Tuesday when it hurt him, but Wednesday it "felt great again.'' He said he will continue to wear his protective shoe and also wear the plexiglass visor to protect his broken nose long as he can see through the snow.

Through the suspension, his broken foot, his broken nose and the loss of both starting tackles, Roethlisberger has had what Arians said, "I think this is his best year."

Some style changes

No one will confuse the style of offensive play by the Steelers and Ravens with those in, say, Indianapolis and New England. But they also are not to be confused with the styles of the Steelers and Ravens of just two years back, either, according to safety Ryan Clark.

"I think both teams have kind of changed with the personnel that they have," Clark said. "I remember the '08 [AFC championship] game was really physical because that's when they were downhill. You had [Le'Ron] McClain running the ball and things like that. But now you have Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, they're throwing screens, so the games are a little different now.

"They have three top-quality receivers who have been to Pro Bowls. We have Mike [Wallace] and Ben, so the games are not the same. It's a little more finesse."

Foote accepts, likes situation

Larry Foote anticipated returning to the playoffs when he returned to the Steelers after one season with the Detroit Lions, but he did not plan to play so little.

A starting inside linebacker for five seasons with the Steelers and then one more in Detroit in 2009, Foote did not start a game in 2010 because both Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior stayed healthy and did not miss a game.

And that was OK by Foote.

"They told me coming in it was more long-term. Would I wish Farrior's play dropped off and he'd be gone? No. I wish I had more playing time, but those guys are playing too good."

As a sub for both, Foote had 23 solo tackles, 27 total and one sack. After last season when he became a free agent, he visited Washington and Arizona and also had interest from the New York Giants before he signed a three-year contract with the Steelers.

"I knew coming back that our chance of going to the playoffs was high."

High praise for Suisham

Coach Mike Tomlin said he has been delighted with not only the performance of kicker Shaun Suisham but also mentioned his positive "attitude" since he joined the Steelers for their game against Oakland Nov. 21.

Suisham made 14 of his 15 field-goal tries.

The Steelers signed him after cutting nine-year veteran Jeff Reed after he missed seven kicks in the first nine games and then complained about the Heinz Field surface.

"He's banged just about every kick we sent him out there to hit, and it starts there," Tomlin said of Suisham. "But not only that, he has a can-do attitude. He is a pleasant teammate. He has endeared himself to his teammates because of it. He has been a good addition to us."

For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette On the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11013...#ixzz1Aus9MNzc
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

Arians credits Roethlisberger's new throwing motion for his success
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_717932.html#
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, January 13, 2011

A change in Ben Roethlisberger's throwing motion has helped the Steelers' quarterback deliver what offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said has been his "best season."

Roethlisberger, who will lead the Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC divisional playoff game, eclipsed 3,000 yards passing for a fifth consecutive season. He also threw a career-low five interceptions, and his 97.0 passer rating during the regular season ranked fifth among NFL quarterbacks.

"As good as I've ever been around," Arians said Wednesday when asked about the level at which Roethlisberger is playing. "He's shortened his delivery. It was a minor thing, just to get it out of his hand faster. It's kind of like a golfer changing his stroke."

It has paid major dividends. Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,200 yards and 17 touchdowns while going 158 consecutive passes without an interception — a streak he will take into Saturday's 4:30 p.m. game at Heinz Field.

Roethlisberger embraced the change while serving a four-game suspension at the start of the regular season.

He and personal quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr. worked up to four days a week on his mechanics — specifically, Roethlisberger keeping the ball in a "loaded position" instead of letting his right arm drop before throwing a pass.

The added bonus of the new motion is that it has alleviated stress on Roethlisberger's right elbow.

A tender throwing elbow at the end of preseason practice is one reason why Roethlisberger said he tinkered with his mechanics for perhaps the first time since he entered the NFL.

"I don't know what it is, but my elbow doesn't seem to hurt as much," Roethlisberger said.

Arians said this is the best he has seen Roethlisberger play because the latter has been more careful with the football while not compromising his ability to make something happen after escaping a collapsing pocket.

Arians said Roethlisberger's best play this season resulted in an incomplete pass. That came late in the Steelers' 13-10 win in Baltimore on Dec. 5.

On first down, Roethlisberger wrested free of Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and flipped the ball out of bounds with his left hand, avoiding a costly sack.

Two plays later, Roethlisberger threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Isaac Redman, giving the Steelers the lead for good.

Roethlisberger played most of that game with a broken nose after getting hit in the face by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

He said he plans to wear a protective visor against the Ravens on Saturday. Roethlisberger, however, added that he will play without one if there is significant precipitation because of visibility issues.

Roethlisberger's right foot is considerably stronger than the last time the Steelers played the Ravens. That meeting came a week after Roethlisberger had aggravated a foot injury in a 19-16 win at Buffalo.

Roethlisberger has had to play through the injury since late November.

He did get a chance to rest his foot last weekend during the Steelers' bye week.

"It's doing good," Roethlisberger said of his foot. "I had a little setback. It hurt a lot (Tuesday), who knows why, but (yesterday) it felt great again."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

Sounds as if Mike Tomlin does not miss his former placekicker

Coach Mike Tomlin said he has been delighted with not only the performance of kicker Shaun Suisham but also mentioned his positive "attitude" since he joined the Steelers for their game against Oakland Nov. 21....

"He's banged just about every kick we sent him out there to hit, and it starts there," Tomlin said of Suisham. "But not only that, he has a can-do attitude. He is a pleasant teammate. He has endeared himself to his teammates because of it. He has been a good addition to us."


All it will take is a miss in the playoffs for all the goodwill to be lost, but so far the Suisham signing at the low point of the season following the New England game has been another personnel move this season that has worked out
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

Good read, Mesa! I saw the same thing Atlanta Dan saw. Coach T's not missing Skippy at all and neither am I. Even if Sushi misses a field goal in the playoffs, we've got to keep in mind there's no guarantee Reed would have made it either the way he was playing. I wish Reed the best and thank him for his great past service to the team, but it was definitely time to move on. His increasing FG misses, short kickoffs, attitude and off the field issues were too much to overlook any further. If we had retained him, we might not have made the playoffs with some of the close games we had and most certainly may not have won the division.

I have noticed Ben's interceptions have dropped and he seems to be getting rid of the ball quicker. The suspension was a blessing in disguise. It seems to have straightened Ben's personal life out, given him time to improve his game and motivated him more. Thankfully, the team didn't suffer record-wise during the suspension either, which was a huge bonus.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

Thanks Mesa!
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Change in delivery pays off for Roethlisberger

Yuins is welcome.
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