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Old 10-18-2009, 07:13 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

Sunday, October 18, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


It's little surprise that Peyton Manning leads the NFL in passing yards. And next in line is ... Tom Brady? Drew Brees? Eli Manning? Brett Favre? Philip Rivers? No, no, no, no and NO. This is a surprise. Lurking behind Manning at No. 2 is one Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger universally was derided as a fantasy player's quarterback, and there are many who believe his popularity nationally has been somewhat held down because of it. Winning two Super Bowls and compiling a 54-22 record means little compared to throwing for 350 yards and five touchdowns even if you lose.

But Big Ben has become a fantasy favorite because he has thrown for more yards than all but Peyton Manning, and, if he throws for touchdowns at the rate he did in Detroit last week, when he had three, he will keep rising on the fantasy charts.

Manning remains the king of fantasy quarterbacks with 1,645 yards and 12 touchdowns. Roethlisberger, though, has 1,470 yards and his touchdowns are on the rise. He has eight, which is tied for seventh in the NFL.

This might not come as a good sign to many, but Roethlisberger's best season came when he threw for 3,513 yards in 2006. It also was his only season in which the Steelers did not make the playoffs. He played in 15 games that season, so his average per game was 234.2.

He is averaging 294 after five games this season. At that rate, he would pass for 4,704 yards in 16 games. Terry Bradshaw owns the Steelers' record with 3,724 yards in 1979.

"The numbers to me don't really matter, just wins and losses," Roethlisberger said.

He set the Steelers' record for touchdown passes with 32 in 2007. He is heading for 26 if he maintains his current rate. No matter.

His passing yards are phenomenal, especially by Steelers standards. If he keeps this up, he will break the team record by 1,000 yards.

"Actually, it should be a lot more," Roethlisberger said.

"We feel like we left a lot out there. We have to continue to improve, I have to continue to improve."

He ranks first in the NFL in accuracy (73.8 percent) and fourth in average gain per pass attempt (8.55 yards).

He has thrown five interceptions, which ranks 26th in the NFL, and two of those have been returned for touchdowns. It's his one statistical downside.

Compare Roethlisberger's stats to Brady's. Brady ranks fourth in yards and 17th in completion rate at 61.4. Brady has six touchdowns and two interceptions, and his average gain is more than two yards fewer at 6.49. Brady has an 85.9 passer rating to Roethlisberger's 102.6.

There is a reason coordinator Bruce Arians keeps leaning on the pass, and that reason is Ben Roethlisberger.
Young players & The Tomlin Philosophy

By not starting Ziggy Hood today, Mike Tomlin will follow a tactic he has used with the team's first two draft picks each year. He does not throw them into the spotlight right away.

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, the first player drafted with Tomlin as a coach, hardly played as a rookie in 2007. He had one tackle on defense. He remained a backup in 2008, starting twice at outside linebacker because of injuries, and playing in the nickel defense, where he had five sacks.

LaMarr Woodley, the team's second-round pick in 2007, also did not start as a rookie, playing behind Clark Haggans at left outside linebacker with no starts. He had four sacks in the regular season and two more in the playoff game against Jacksonville, and the Steelers allowed Haggans to leave as a free agent and Woodley became their starter in his second season.

Rashard Mendenhall, No. 1 in 2008, carried 10 times in his first game and had no carries in his next two. It was not until Willie Parker was injured that Mendenhall got his chance, starting in the fourth game before his season ended with an injury. He again opened this season behind Parker and had seven carries through the first three games, one of which he was benched for not knowing his playbook well enough. It was not until Parker was injured that Mendenhall earned his second professional start, in the fourth game.

Limas Sweed, the team's second-round draft pick in 2008, did not play in the first five games last season and caught just six passes in the regular season, two in the postseason. He has not dressed for two of the five games this season and caught one pass.

Hood has played sparingly through five games. At least, he has played. Guard Kraig Urbik, the team's second pick this year (on the third round, they traded their second-rounder), has not yet worn a uniform in the regular season.

Tomlin's strategy with Hood is a good one, even if he were ready to take over for Aaron Smith at left defensive end. If he had anointed the rookie, the past week would have been all about the first-round draft pick and how he stacked up to Smith. So, too, the broadcasters of the game today would have focused on Hood's play.

The comparisons to Smith would have been unfair and the pressure enormous. By immediately spreading it among three players, including two veterans, Tomlin headed off the focus on Hood. Now, the rookie can go play, and, some day, perhaps like Timmons, he might even win a starting job.
Well, it's about time

It's a good thing the Steelers finally paid attention to defensive end in their most recent draft because the team has had a poor history at the position, and not just because they did not draft any. The coaches take some blame, too, for letting potential good ones get away.

Perhaps because Aaron Smith played so well they did not feel they needed to pay attention to the spot. Smith is one of three players left on the team -- now two on the active roster -- who were drafted under Tom Donahoe, their former director of football operations who was fired early in 2000. Smith was a fourth-round draft choice in 1999, and Hines Ward and Deshea Townsend were drafted in 1998.

Hood is the first defensive end the Steelers have drafted in the first round in the past 21 years, back to the failed Aaron Jones in 1988. It does not mean they did not draft anyone who could play. They got lucky with starter Brett Keisel, their last draft pick in seventh round of 2002. That pick usually is considered a throw-away.

They also may have gotten lucky with rookie Sunny Harris, a sixth-round draft choice they like but who was cut and got away before they snatched him back. Denver may be the team that got lucky with the Steelers' fourth-round draft pick in 2007, Ryan McBean. The Steelers cut him last year, the Broncos picked him up, and he is starting at end today for unbeaten Denver.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09291/1006402-66.stm
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

Good read Galax - thanks!

While his rankings look real pretty on paper and are this season, a FF dream come true, I think Ben sums it up best . . .

Quote:
"The numbers to me don't really matter, just wins and losses," Roethlisberger said.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

And it goes without saying now that Big Ben is the NFL's leading passer with 1,887 yards. Very nice!
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

5 WIDE!!!

We don't need no stinkin' fatbacks.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

It amazes me how people still don't respect Ben despite putting up some of the best numbers in the NFL. Fox Sports says that the Steelers shouldn't be "too proud" of their win yesterday because of the turnovers. That one article posted here called the game a "comedy of errors." And a bunch of douchebags on another board I frequent said that next week, the Vikings will "destroy" Pittsburgh.

I understand that there are many places where Ben and the Steelers can improve, but they're still 4-2 and haven't lost a game by more than 3 points. And a lot of that has to do with our quarterback. I swear, the Steelers could win the Super Bowl 10 years in a row and people would still be saying the Colts and The Pats are the best teams in the league.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

Haha, and guess who's my starting FF QB????????????




(I got McNabb on the bench.)
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

Big Ben #1 in the NFL in passing yards


Hines Ward - #1 in the NFL in receiving yards


http://www.nfl.com/stats/player




We don't need no stinkin' fatback
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

And he still won't get any credit. Like '76 said, Ben could have the most impressive stats out there and he won't even sniff the MVP. Because he's not a fairhaired face of the NFL with rules made to protect him like the Princess of New England.

But hey, he's a game manager whose running game and defense carries him. Can't let him throw it 30 times a game.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

I was over on Yahoo Sports' NFL page and Ben isn't mentioned anywhere on the front page. Brees, Brady, Schaub, McNabb, the ususal suspects all mentioned.
Ben throws for 417 yards and it didn't merit a mention.
If that was Farve, Brady, Brees, Palmer, McNabb and the ususal suspects the media would never stop talking about it what a sensational day they had.

Oh well. I reckon Ben his coaches and team mates and Steelers fans are used to him getting snubbed.
Ben just keeps winning. That'll have to do.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Big Ben ... Not just a fantasy

That article is now a game too old, Ben is now on pace for 5000+ yards and is now in sole possession of 1st for most yards, although Peyton has a bye, but he certainly put the pressure on, improving his average to 314.5ypg, closing that gap with Peyton. He dropped off a bit in completion %, but he also had more drops than usual in this last game, even without Sweed in the line up.

The most impressive part imo is all the obscure stats he is dominating in:

1st in yards per attempt
1st in yards per completion
1st in % of passes for 1st downs
1st in plays of 20+ yards
2nd in plays of 40+ yards

this all suggests that not only is he getting monster stats, he's not getting them the easy way with frequent check downs or underneath patterns or WR screens

The amazing part is that he really is being largely ignored despite all this.

My best guess as to why is because its just so not like him, I'm guessing the analysts think (or perhaps hope, because they don't want to be wrong or not have "called it") its a fluke and expect him to drastically regress. However even though he is currently doing so well he is still being overshadowed somewhat.

Also, as monster as his numbers are, Peyton's are still a little bit more flattering because of a better TD/INT ration and slightly better ypg avg. The same would hold true for Brees, although its also interesting to not that Brees' current fame is largely founding upon his own monster season last year and that was mostly based on total yards. Then of course there goldenboy coming back from injury and Favre coming back from the dead, or I mean the retirement home, or I mean retirement, whatever.

However one thing we don't want to do is complain about lack of attention. As little attention as Ben is receiving due to being overlooked/overshadowed, Matt Schaub is probably flying even lower under the radar. He's right up there in all those major stats and he leads the league in TD passes.
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