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Old 12-26-2006, 09:36 AM   #1
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Default Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record
Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
12/26/2006


The Times / Clif Page

PITTSBURGH - On the day before Christmas, Ben Roethlisberger experienced one of the lowest days in his three-year pro career.

On a few occasions, he heard boos from the home crowd.

Then after he was mercifully yanked from another brutal beating at the hands of the new champs in the AFC North, he heard "Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!" chants echoing throughout Heinz Field.

After two glorious seasons, the honeymoon is over for the face of the franchise.

Granted, not all fans who watched the Steelers lose Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens, 31-7, vented their frustrations by booing Roethlisberger and cheering backup Charlie Batch. But just the fact that the quarterback who led the Steelers to Super Bowl glory less than a year ago would be jeered speaks volumes of how much his star has dimmed.

Steelers fans may be fickle. But they aren't dumb. They know - just as well as any Steeler player, coach or executive knows - that the young man who wears No. 7 has been the team's biggest problem this year.

A Super Bowl hangover, the retirement of Jerome Bettis, a tough schedule and a lackluster job by coach Bill Cowher and his assistants have contributed to the demise of the 2005 Super Bowl champs. But nothing was more detrimental to the Steelers' 7-8 slide than Roethlisberger.

By throwing two more interceptions Sunday, Roethlisberger has 22 this season, two more than he had in 2004 and '05 combined. As a rookie he went 13-0 as a starter and set a team record with a 98.1 passer rating. Last year he was 9-3 as a starter and became the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl. He reset the team record with a 98.6 rating.

Going into Sunday's finale in Cincinnati, he's 6-8 as a starter, and his rating has dipped 20 points from last year to 74.0.

The problem at QB stem from Roethlisberger's health issues, poor decisions by Cowher on the use of his quarterbacks, and Roethlisberger's immaturity and ego.

Obviously, Roethlisberger has no control over health issues that threw his life into a spin. It's not his fault a woman drove her car into the path of his motorcycle in June, nearly killing him. It's not his fault an appendectomy prevented him from playing in the season opener. It's not his fault he was knocked out with a concussion in an Oct. 22 loss in Atlanta.

But Roethlisberger does deserve blame for letting his ego get in the way of the best interests of the team. The week after the Miami game in which Batch handled the offense with ease, Roethlisberger basically begged Cowher to let him play in the next game in Jacksonville. The week of the Oakland game, it was more of the same.

Roethlisberger shouldn't have hurried back and allowed Batch to win a game or two. The Steelers are 3-0 in games Batch started the past two years.

Cowher erred by playing Roethlisberger in a 9-0 loss in Jacksonville and a 20-13 loss in Oakland. He hardly played him in the preseason and Cowher shouldn't have played him in Jacksonville. He wasn't ready. His performance - 46.2 completion percentage, two interceptions, 38.7 passer rating - did nothing to help Roethlisberger regain confidence.

The decision to play Roethlisberger in Oakland was one of the most glaring bonehead mistakes of the Cowher era.

To lose to a 2-13 Raiders team was inexcusable. Roethlisberger threw four interceptions, two that were returned for TDs. Batch should have played and would have won that day.

Soething is bothering Roethlisberger. Perhaps it's just a lack of confidence. But he's clearly not the QB he was his first two years in the league.

After Sunday's loss eliminated the Steelers, Roethlisberger admitted he's already looking forward to next year. He said he wants to spend extra time practicing with his wide receivers to develop better chemistry.

The best thing that could happen for Roethlisberger is for this season to end as quickly as possible. He should get away from football for awhile and try to rejuvenate himself physically, mentally and spiritually.

The faster he puts the nightmare of 2006 behind him the better off he and the Steelers will be.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com








?Beaver County Times Allegheny Times 2006
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

Oh boy, Mr. Bires better find a bomb proof shelter.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

I may have had a few beers at the game, and did heer some Boos, but never thought they were intended towards Ben himself. More over towards the entire offense. And didn't hear the Charlie chant. Maybe was in the restroom at the time.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

Yea I was at the game Sunday and some Steelers fans were saying "Ben I hope you get into another accident". Ok I have been fustrated with Ben at times this year to but I would never wish harm onto Big Ben. I just hope he comes back and shuts the Steelers fans the **** up that doubt him now next year.

We all knew at sometime Ben was going to have some struggles at onetime in his career. Hopefully he rebounds and plays like the QB we expect him to be.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

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Originally Posted by Black and Gold Forever 32 View Post
Yea I was at the game Sunday and some Steelers fans were saying "Ben I hope you get into another accident". Ok I have been fustrated with Ben at times this year to but I would never wish harm onto Big Ben. I just hope he comes back and shuts the Steelers fans the **** up that doubt him now next year.

We all knew at sometime Ben was going to have some struggles at onetime in his career. Hopefully he rebounds and plays like the QB we expect him to be.
those arent the true fans. That's a disgrace.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

I lay the blame for playing Ben squarely on Cowher's shoulders. Of course Ben was going to want to play when the doc's cleared him. If he wanted to sit, he'd look like the baby his critics claim him to be. The buck stops with Cowher. Period.

I still don't think even if Ben had sat those games that we would be in better playoff position. Here we essentially had the same team but for some reason that no one can lay a precise finger on, just didn't put it all together this year. We say this, this and this went wrong. Yes.......but WHY? Same team.......different result.

I've read all the posts, articles, you name it and nothing explains it, other that the obvious reason for Ben's slump. The only reasonable explaination in my mind is that last year, at the end when we were the strongest, we were also our healthiest. All of our key players have played with or been out with major injuries since day one and we simply didn't have enough depth to handle it. Our rookies have been called upon to carry the load and we have paid the price for that. Lesson #1 when you are playing with the big boys is hold on to the friggin' ball!

The one bright spot for that situation is our rookies got valuable experience this season and are ready to step up to the plate next year with many less mistakes. Santonio and Anthony Smith had some very bright moments that gave me hope. Look what happed to Willie Parker this year......next year should be even better for him. That's one guy that gave his all this year. Add that to Ben, Troy, Hines and a few others having a full off season to prepare and some changes made by the HO, good draft picks and FA and I have a good feeling about next year.....with or without Cowher. I can't imagine the Steelers without him, but I'm also a firm believer that change can be good. I trust the Rooneys to handle this as expertly as they always have.

My mom always says...."Everything happens for a reason......" Mom is usually right.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

He has some valid points, but to suggest that Ben is the MAIN reason we are where we are is just irresponsible. Dumbass.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

[QUOTE=stillers4me;194981]I lay the blame for playing Ben squarely on Cowher's shoulders. Of course Ben was going to want to play when the doc's cleared him. If he wanted to sit, he'd look like the baby his critics claim him to be. The buck stops with Cowher. Period.

I couldnt agree with you more! just because he was cleared PHYSICALLY to play means little to nothing when he isnt prepared mentally.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:18 AM   #9
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
Oh boy, Mr. Bires better find a bomb proof shelter.
You can say that again.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Mike Bires: Roethlisberger's ego and Cowher's decisions led to 7-8 record

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Originally Posted by Black and Gold Forever 32 View Post
Yea I was at the game Sunday and some Steelers fans were saying "Ben I hope you get into another accident".
..... being in Florida, I didn't see the game, but it sounds like the azz-hats that 'cheered' when Bradshaw seperated a shoulder at-home in '73 were permitted to reproduce, eh?


Roethlisberger should-be held accountable for driving a scooter without a brain-bucket, but it is the coaching staff to decide when he is playing below-par, and when to sit him down.

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