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Old 11-01-2006, 02:13 AM   #1
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Default Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

Found this on another forum, and it's just too uplifting to not share.

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The Steelers' season and Big Ben's statistics seem frighteningly similar to another defending Super Bowl champ and quarterback. The team? The '02 Patriots. The QB? Tom Brady.

The quarterback, having won a Super Bowl in his second NFL season, is playing inconsistently in his third, and the defending champions are in a nosedive near midseason.

Fans grouse about whether the quarterback is a one-hit wonder, and they pine for the cagey old veteran quarterback.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers of 2006? It could be, but it also describes Tom Brady and the New England Patriots of 2002.

New England won its first Super Bowl after the 2001 season, and Brady was the game's MVP. The Patriots opened defense of their title in 2002, as did the Steelers this year, with a big victory -- against the Steelers.

Yet four consecutive losses left them 3-4, and Brady was playing below expectations. In those four losses, Brady threw seven interceptions and six touchdown passes and had a passer rating of 64.3.

Coach Bill Belichick did not replace his young quarterback, but it did not stop the fans

from wondering whether Tom Brady, who became a starter in his second season when an injury sidelined Drew Bledsoe, was a fluke. Many also bemoaned the fact that the team had traded Bledsoe early in 2002 and had put too much faith in Brady too soon.

The Patriots finished the 2002 season at 9-7 as Brady improved his play, but they did not make the playoffs. They went on to win the Super Bowl in each of the next two seasons, and Brady pocketed another of the game's MVP awards. They made the playoffs last season and, after Brady threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-7 victory Monday night at Minnesota, the Patriots are 6-1 and on track to try to win a fourth Super Bowl in the past six seasons.

Roethlisberger had a better start to his career than Brady-- "unprecedented," Bill Cowher called it yesterday. He broke all of Dan Marino's rookie records while going 13-0 as a starter in 2004. Last year, he finished third in the league in passer rating and his team won the Super Bowl.

Yet, after playing poorly in parts of four of his six starts this season -- games in which the Steelers are 1-5 -- Roethlisberger, like Brady in 2002, is coming under question by fans and media. There are media polls, including one by this newspaper today, asking whether Roethlisberger should be benched in favor of backup Charlie Batch.

Yesterday, Cowher was asked at his news conference if he thought of pulling Roethlisberger in the midst of his four-interception game Sunday at Oakland and if he will be on a "shorter leash?"

Cowher issued an emphatic, "No," thus taking the same approach Belichick did with Brady in 2002.

Cowher said, however, that he thinks Roethlisberger is trying too hard and that perhaps a downturn could be expected from a young quarterback who had so much success in his first two NFL seasons.

"The important thing is how you deal with it," Cowher said. "Ben Roethlisberger is a good football player, he's a good quarterback. He will learn from it. I think the greatest thing about that is he recognizes that. He's accountable. He's a stand-up guy. Those things will make him a stronger player, a stronger person through the course of time. I truly believe that.

"What he's done in the time he's been here is unprecedented. ... The thing is, he played two pretty good games in the weeks prior to this game. There had been no turnovers. He had not thrown an interception in two consecutive games, one at home and one on the road."

Roethlisberger, overall, has completed 62.2 percent of his passes and thrown six touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His passer rating is 70.7.

Cowher was asked if all of Roethlisberger's "maladies" had anything to do with his performance.

"That's a hard question to answer. It's all speculation," he said.

Roethlisberger left the previous game in Atlanta in the third quarter because of a concussion. He resumed full practice Thursday after receiving clearance from doctors.

"Based on last week and talking to him and the week of practice that he had, there was no question about him playing," Cowher said. "What happens when you lose, a lot of things come under the microscope, as they should. But all the speculation about him, about me, that becomes a part of it. You've got to be able to deal with it."


History repeats?

Tom Brady's average numbers in the Patriots' four losses in their 3-4 start in 2002 vs. Ben Roethlisberger's averages in the Steelers' five losses this season:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Click on the link below to compare Big Ben and Tom Brady's season after their SB win--I think you'll be more than pleasantly surprised


://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06305/734586-66.stm
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

I PROMISE I'll come back and read this after I get home from work........ :)
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

Whoops, double posted...oh well. My bad.
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

I thought I was having early morning double vision again.
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

Thanks for the article, SW. While I see a couple of similarities between Brady and Ben in a stat sense, the situations themselves can't be compared, imho. As Atlanta Dan mentioned in another thread, Brady didn't experience all of the traumas to his brain and body in a 4 month span of time that Ben has, which I still believe have contributed greatly to his problems under center thus far this season. I can't state with certainty that Tom Brady had an OL made of swiss cheese in 2002 as Ben has had in front of him this season, but I do believe our OL's inability to keep defenders at bay has only exacerbated Ben's ineffectiveness thus far. It's the whole ball of wax this season with the Steelers' play - I don't think there is one individual or unit that can be singled out as to why they are playing so poorly - they're losing as a team, though I really can't fault the D too much.

It all boils down to this team coming down off of their cloud and realizing that no game is a gimme - they have to play as hard as they did in the second half of last season and get back to smash-mouth, tough-assed, hard nosed Pittsburgh Steelers football.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

I loved the article. Ben needs to step up and instead of taking responsibility, take the lead! This team is looking for a leader and he has to be it!

I still say this season isn't in the bag yet and Roethlisberger can work his mojo the next 9 games. Another thread showed that Denver was calling him out, so let him come out!
I trust that Ben can do this Sunday what he did in Denver in January!!!
LIGHT 'EM UP!
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

Well I think that the comparisons between Brady'02 and Ben'06 arent particularly close for alot of the reasons that HTG (and Atlanta Dan in another related thread) have already mentioned.

On top of that the roles could almost have been reveresed - Big Ben is closer to being the Drew Bledsoe of the situation and Charlie Batch the Tom Brady.

Brady was brought in cover for Bledsoe while he recovered from injury, Batch was brough in to cover for Ben while has was recovering from injury.

Bledsoe was still the franchise QB - Ben is the franchise QB.



Firstly, I dont really understand how Pittsburgh fans can question Bens position as 'franchise QB' - the few arguments I have seen in favor of getting rid of him seem to regurgitate arguments that most Steeler fans have spent alot of time counter-arguing.

Arguments such as 'he can't get it done in the big one' - yes his SB performance was a mess but the way he lit up other teams in the playoffs was outstanding - certainly no flash-in-the-pan.

Anyway, I presume these fans are in a tiny minority right?

Secondly, there is a group of people who are questioning the wisdom of having Ben start so quickly after various injuries - the general rebuttal to this is that Cowher and the Steelrs wouldnt play him if there was a risk of him being badly re-injured.

Personally, I dont think this is what these fans are getting at.

What they are saying (if I read them right) if that Ben hadn't recovered enough to play well - not that he was in any particular danger.

And this is where the blame falls squarely into the lap of Cowher.

He has to take the heat for bringing back his star QB at the earliest possible opportunity (again another AtlantaDan point) when the guy was clearly not ready.

I backed the decision to start Ben after the bike accident and the appendectomy but I really questioned the wisdom of starting him against Oakland after he was heavily concussed from the week before.

Ben is a young, head strong QB - like most footballers he wants to be out there playing every minute - the coaches job is to protect the team from his QB's over enthusiam - which he has falied to do.

Oh, and on another note its all very well Cowher saying 'the blame is all on me' but then becoming aggressive when asked to define how.

To me the phrase 'blame it all on me' is not a way of accepting responsibility - in fact, just the opposite - it has becoming a way of washing your hands of the incident.
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They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.

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Old 11-01-2006, 10:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
Well I think that the comparisons between Brady'02 and Ben'06 arent particularly close for alot of the reasons that HTG (and Atlanta Dan in another related thread) have already mentioned.

On top of that the roles could almost have been reveresed - Big Ben is closer to being the Drew Bledsoe of the situation and Charlie Batch the Tom Brady.

Brady was brought in cover for Bledsoe while he recovered from injury, Batch was brough in to cover for Ben while has was recovering from injury.

Bledsoe was still the franchise QB - Ben is the franchise QB.



Firstly, I dont really understand how Pittsburgh fans can question Bens position as 'franchise QB' - the few arguments I have seen in favor of getting rid of him seem to regurgitate arguments that most Steeler fans have spent alot of time counter-arguing.

Arguments such as 'he can't get it done in the big one' - yes his SB performance was a mess but the way he lit up other teams in the playoffs was outstanding - certainly no flash-in-the-pan.

Anyway, I presume these fans are in a tiny minority right?

Secondly, there is a group of people who are questioning the wisdom of having Ben start so quickly after various injuries - the general rebuttal to this is that Cowher and the Steelrs wouldnt play him if there was a risk of him being badly re-injured.

Personally, I dont think this is what these fans are getting at.

What they are saying (if I read them right) if that Ben hadn't recovered enough to play well - not that he was in any particular danger.

And this is where the blame falls squarely into the lap of Cowher.

He has to take the heat for bringing back his star QB at the earliest possible opportunity (again another AtlantaDan point) when the guy was clearly not ready.

I backed the decision to start Ben after the bike accident and the appendectomy but I really questioned the wisdom of starting him against Oakland after he was heavily concussed from the week before.

Ben is a young, head strong QB - like most footballers he wants to be out there playing every minute - the coaches job is to protect the team from his QB's over enthusiam - which he has falied to do.

Oh, and on another note its all very well Cowher saying 'the blame is all on me' but then becoming aggressive when asked to define how.

To me the phrase 'blame it all on me' is not a way of accepting responsibility - in fact, just the opposite - it has becoming a way of washing your hands of the incident.
But look at how both Ben and Brady got their starts. It was all due to the starting QB going down with an injury. Since that time, both have become the franchise QB.

As for the blame it all on me, I think he says that because he truly has no idea what is happening on the field and regardless of how many chins he gives them, they just aren't modifying their play and/or behavior!
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

I guess what I was trying to bring out with this post is the fact that even AFTER having all these problems in the last 4 months, that Big Ben is still better in like what--3 out of 4 of those stats than TB was in the season after? Big Ben is unprecedented in every way--including this one.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers 2-5 start--the aftermath

LITP sums up my point that I am not saying Cowher knowingly placed Ben in physical peril by playing him this past Sunday, although given all the non-NFL sponsored medical literature on concussions, Cowher arguably played Ben in (to use a legal term) reckless disregard of the potential consequences this past Sunday.

What I am saying is that it was forseeable that Ben would not be playing at close to full competency this past Sunday and that, with a good back-up QB and a terrible Oakland team, it was not necessary to rush Ben back. I know Ben rallied from being out twice in 2005 and Cowher may have been using that as his measuring stick for how long Ben should require to recover, but what he has gone through this season is at another level of trauma and involves different concerns relating to mental clarity than his 2005 injuries did.

In other words, I am not accusing Cowher of malice, just poor judgment.
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