View Full Version : Shoulder injury affecting Big Ben

11-07-2008, 03:57 AM
Shoulder injury affecting Big Ben

By Scott Brown
Friday, November 7, 2008

The pressure of following up on a record-setting, Pro Bowl season. A dip in velocity on his fastball. Missed practice time and the adverse effect that has had on his timing with his receivers.

All could factor into why Ben Roethlisberger isn't playing at a level that the Steelers quarterback said is acceptable to him.

"I like that he feels that way and feels like he can play better," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Thursday. "We've all seen him play better, and there's a lot of circumstances that go into it."

Many of those circumstances can be traced to the shoulder injury Roethlisberger suffered during the first game of the season. He has since had to play through the pain, and the fifth-year veteran sat out the second half of Monday's 23-6 win over the Redskins after getting hit on his right shoulder on a 1-yard touchdown run.

Roethlisberger did not practice yesterday, and his status for Sunday's game against the Colts is still in question.

Arians said the slight shoulder separation has cost Roethlisberger some zip on his passes.

That could be a reason why he is holding onto the ball a split-second longer -- Roethlisberger may not have the same confidence to make the throws he did a year ago when he set a Steelers record with 32 touchdown passes and finished second in the NFL in passer rating (104.1).

"I think what happens (with the shoulder injury) is you lose some of the velocity you're used to having, and he's had to change his throwing motion a little bit to compensate for it," Arians said. "He's done a really good job of continuing to battle in these circumstances."

Roethlisberger's time on the practice field, however, has been limited.

"It's really hard to maintain your timing, especially when you're putting new things into a game plan, and you don't get a rep other than just by watching it," Arians said. "The only thing I will say against that is he played really well against Jacksonville, and I didn't know he was going to play until we were in the hotel about three hours before the game."

Roethlisberger played arguably his best game of the season against the Jaguars despite not practicing all week. He threw for 309 yards and three scores and led the Steelers on a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.

He has not been nearly as sharp in the three games since, and Arians said Roethlisberger may be putting too much pressure on himself.

There is no doubt that Roethlisberger, who has a passer rating of 79.6, entered the season with heightened expectations.

He had a breakout season in 2007 when he made his first Pro Bowl. And last March, he signed an eight-year contract worth as much as $102 million.

"He understands that with the contract and the number he wears on his chest and everything he's done, there's a certain standard to which he has to play," right tackle Willie Colon said. "I think maybe that's all that is. Maybe he's not hitting it the way he wants to hit it, and that's frustrating to him. We've just got to show him we're behind him, we love him, and we're a team."

Wide receiver Nate Washington agreed.

When asked about Roethlisberger's comments earlier this week that his play has been "subpar," Washington said: "I don't know what he's talking about because he's been playing pretty good. But you have to be your biggest critic, and I'm pretty sure that's what he was thinking when he said that."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Discipline of Steel
11-07-2008, 12:05 PM
If his throwing motion is affected, i believe he should rest, maybe as emergency QB. Possibly two weeks...

11-07-2008, 01:26 PM
If his throwing motion is affected, i believe he should rest, maybe as emergency QB. Possibly two weeks...

:Agree , but I would have him 2nd string, with Dixon as emergency.