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Old 11-22-2011, 09:56 AM   #1
LayingTheWoodley56
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Default Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

In my eyes, Ben Roethlisberger has truly grown into an excellent pocket passer, something that he was not in the early stages of his career. We saw the young Ben of 2004-2005, who was probably one or two notches above "game manager" status - he had an excellent defense behind him, he made some truly spectacular plays with his legs that I think made us all pee ourselves a little bit realizing that this is the quarterbac of the future, but he thrived throwing the ball 20-25 times a game and letting Willie, Duce, or the Bus do the rest. He was never asked to win us a ballgame by himself, because he never had to.

Ben from 2006-2009 certainly improved as a pocket passer, but I was never comfortable with him throwing the ball 35-45 times a game. Oftentimes, he was a pump-faking mess. I lost track of the number of times I wanted to put my foot through the TV watching all of those pump fakes. He was good, very good at times, put up some excellent numbers, but he certainly wasn't on the Manning/Brady level as someone who could hang in the pocket and always hit open recievers and also deliver some passes on a dime. I always believed that he needed a top-notch running game to truly excel.

Since last year though (since he came back from the suspension - maybe not a coincidence) his game has truly come of age. He was deadly efficient last season, only five picks in 12 games. He seems to have worked out the pump-fake dependency issue. What I see this season, particularly against Tennesee, New England, and last week against Cincy, is a mature, poised quarterback who can sit back there and deliver bullets all around, and he is doing so without a consistent or reliable running game.

I have the confidence in Ben now that we can win ballgames with him as by far the key player on offense. His deep balls (no doubt helped by the presence of one Michael Wallace) have improved immeasurably, and he's doing a great job grooming Sanders and Brown, and we now have the potential for a three-headed monster at wideout for years to come (just imagine if we still had Santonio too.) I am finally starting to have faith that Ben can win us a shootout-type game where we have to outscore the other team to win, which we have had problems with early in his career.

There is debate of Ben's standing among the elite passers in today's NFL. I ask you, who's better than him? Brady, Brees and Rodgers, yes. All three I would say are better pocket passers and all three have rings, two of them having gone through Ben to do it. But who else?

Peyton Manning? Temporarily out of the conversation. Eli? Too inconsistent, too many interceptions. Cutler? See Eli. Rivers? Having an off-year, never won a truly big game and we know our Ben has won about 15 of those. Vick? Too injury prone, not effective enough as a traditional passer. Flacco? Don't make me laugh. Schaub? If he was that good we would have seen Houston in the playoffs one of these times. Freeman, Sanchez, Dalton, Bradford, all completely unproven and not even in the conversation with Big Ben. I would say that Roethlisberger is the number four quarterback in the NFL right now.

What is he missing? Speaking as someone who has watched upwards of 90% of the snaps Ben has taken in his career, not very much. I have been truly impressed with the strides he has personally made character-wise since the sex scandal. He seems like he has been truly humbled by the whole experience and really become a model teammate. He is always giving credit to his supporting cast, he keeps his mouth shut and his head down now and just works.

He is careful with the football, certainly less interception-prone than most QBs, and though its been said millions of times, no one has that penchant for backyard football and creativity like him. No one gives his recievers up to 10-12 seconds to run around and get open and make a play like him. And definitely, this is one of the toughest sons of bitches in the league. Broken foot, no problem. Broken nose while playing on a broken foot? No problem. Broken thumb? Ah, we have the bye, I'll heal up and see you in KC in two weeks.

Clearly, he has been blessed with some truly great defenses, including one of the top-10 all-time in 2008 and another excellent one last year. That has to be said. Would he have two Super Bowls and a third appearance without them? Probably not. But would those same defenses have won those titles with, say, Philip Rivers under center (one of them in his second season?) I don't know. Ben played remarkably in Cincy, especially in Indy and again in Denver when we got there in 05. He didn't throw any backbreaking picks or be reckless with the football, and at a very young age. Same thing in 08.

The Ben Bashing Brigade (as it was called on the steelers.com board - I don't know if you guys use that terminology here) should be dead and gone now. I wouldn't trade our quarterback for any other in the league, and that includes the three I ranked in front of him. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to watch Ben Roethlisberger play football these past eight years. The numbers speak for themselves: 10-3 playoff record, two SB championships, three AFC Championships, 27 game-winning or tying drives in 4th quarter/OT, over 25,000 passing yards. One Hall of Fame ticket.

We need to cherish watching this guy while he's here guys. We suffered though Neil O'Donnell, Kordell Stewart, and Tommy Maddox, guys who made you hold your breath every time the ball was in the air. I have no such queasy feeling when Ben airs it out, just confidence and excitement. When all is said and done, the kid from Findlay just may have a fistful of rings. I'll be in Canton for that induction ceremony, circa 2024.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

wow
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

wow what
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

me too
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

if you guys are making fun of me for being long-winded, i apologize - im actually a journalism major with aspirations to become a sportswriter, i have a tendency to get deep into things and find myself unable to stop writing, especially about something i love as much as our steelers
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

Ben aren't you supposed to be at practice?
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

I was actually just trying to be funny by adding a very short, meaningless response like madtowndrunkard. I actually enjoyed your post, and yes, you can definitely sense your passion in it, but that's not a bad thing.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

o'donnell would have won a championship if he stayed in pittsburgh, i don't think it's fair to put him in the same class as kordell or maddox, he was clearly better than both of them

agree that ben has evolved somewhat but it annoys me that it takes him being injured to start playing the game smarter
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

@stairway 27 ok haha i appreciate that..sometimes is easy to forget what we have here in #7, never a bad thing to remind some of our more cynical steeler brethren
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ben's play has evolved - he is now a top five (at least) pocket passer

I have a minor in Journalism with a major in gynecology
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