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fordfixer
10-04-2010, 02:51 AM
Possibilities endless with Big Ben's return
Monday, October 04, 2010
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10277/1092509-87.stm

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had no trouble working up a good case of anger Sunday. "Hacked off," he described himself. Of course, he was. He had just watched his defense blow a four-point lead in the final 68 seconds, saw his offense waste two scoring opportunities after turnovers, watched kicker Jeff Reed miss two field-goal attempts that he normally drills, saw too many of his guys show a disappointing lack of poise and intelligence by taking bad penalties and watched the whole bunch of 'em lose a division game that was there for the taking at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens, 17-14.

But I have to be honest here this morning. I'm having a hard time being mad at the fellas even though it wasn't any fun watching them lose to the hated Ravens. Nor should you be mad. The Steelers are 3-1 and share first place in the AFC North Division with the Ravens despite playing the four games without suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. I'm thinking they've done pretty well. No, they've done better than pretty well. They've done terrific work. Now, they're sitting pretty knowing they'll have Roethlisberger back for the next game against the Cleveland Browns at home Oct. 17. The wonderful possibilities seem endless.

"I'm sure Ben is going to give us a little extra pep-me-up this week after this tough loss," Steelers linebacker James Farrior said.

Roethlisberger is going to be great again, better even than he was when he led the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles. He wants to right the wrong of putting his teammates in what appeared to be a huge crater by getting suspended and not being there for them. It doesn't matter that they saved his fanny by winning three times with third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon and fourth-stringer Charlie Batch. "We never make excuses. It's been that way around here forever," Farrior said. Roethlisberger still is going to be driven to be great. "Dude is a competitor and a winner," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. The only thing that can stop Roethlisberger is Roethlisberger. You know, if he tries to do too much too quickly and tries to make up for his suspension all at once. I like to think he's too smart and too experienced to allow that to happen.

The same is true for the rest of the veteran Steelers players, who are facing an adjustment of sorts with Roethlisberger coming back.

"I'm sure the feeling outside of this locker room is that we're OK because Ben is coming back and everybody can relax," Farrior said. "But that's definitely not the thinking in here. All the guys have to stay focused and keep working. Ben isn't going to do it alone."

Make no mistake, Farrior -- not to mention Tomlin -- will preach that message this week and next as the Steelers ramp up their preparations for the Browns. That's why Farrior is a great leader and Tomlin is a strong coach. The younger players need to hear it. It won't hurt the older players to hear it, either.

"The thing we learned through all of this is that every man is a part of the team, but no man has to be the team," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said.

"We have to treat it like we can't rely on Ben. We can't say to him, 'OK, we know you haven't played in four games, but we've done our part, now you take over.' It can't be like that. Now that doesn't mean we're not excited to get him back. Believe me, we're all excited."

Said wide receiver Hines Ward, "Ben definitely makes us a better ball club. We'll be better as an offense when he comes back."

Tomlin knows that even if he wasn't in a mood to talk about it Sunday. "We'll see him tomorrow," he said, biting off the words when asked about Roethlisberger's return. When pressed for elaboration, he said, again tersely, "He'll be back tomorrow."

I'm not sure what that was about, but I'm fairly certain Tomlin will be thrilled to see Roethlisberger walk through the door at the team's South Side headquarters. He is no fool. How did Ward put it? "Ben is our franchise guy."

As for the problems that irked Tomlin, they are fixable.

The coach won't put up with the penalties -- 11 for 88 yards -- especially the horrible false starts against guard Chris Kemoeatu and tight end Matt Spaeth in the final 2:35 when the Steelers were trying to get a first down to end the game. "That's Steelers beating Steelers," Tomlin growled.

Reed isn't likely to miss again from 49 and 45 yards even if he does kick to the open end at Heinz Field. Those third-quarter misses were hurtful because the Steelers' defense created turnovers at the Ravens' 27 and 33.

As for that late collapse by the defense, it's not an indication of bad things to come. It doesn't mean there will be a re-do of last season when the defense blew fourth-quarter leads in five losses. The Steelers merely were beaten by a hot quarterback, Joe Flacco. This was, by far, the best he has looked against their defense. "He can make all of the throws and he showed that at the end of the game," Clark said.

There's only one way to describe Flacco after he went 4 for 4 for 40 yards on the winning touchdown drive: He was Roethlisberger-like.

Now, I can't wait to see the real Roethlisberger. Oct. 17 can't get here soon enough.
Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author
First published on October 4, 2010 at 12:00 am


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10277/10 ... z11N1ok7KI (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10277/1092509-87.stm#ixzz11N1ok7KI)

Oviedo
10-04-2010, 07:54 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Wonder who will be the first to jump on here and rip Ben and the team the first time he has a bad game which will happen.

BradshawsHairdresser
10-04-2010, 09:09 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

RussBII
10-04-2010, 10:20 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

I really hope he and the WRs get together for ALL of this week. Other than that, I'm happy we start with the Browns when he gets back. I could see it taking a week or two for him to get back to the Ben we know.

Watching Charlie side step pressure yesterday really made me miss him. At least 50% of those sacks are 20 yard gains with Ben. The other 50%? Still sacks...

Oviedo
10-04-2010, 10:35 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

I really hope he and the WRs get together for ALL of this week. Other than that, I'm happy we start with the Browns when he gets back. I could see it taking a week or two for him to get back to the Ben we know.

Watching Charlie side step pressure yesterday really made me miss him. At least 50% of those sacks are 20 yard gains with Ben. The other 50%? Still sacks...

Yea but remember what happened last year in Cleveland. I'm not taking anything for granted and I hope the players don't either.

RussBII
10-04-2010, 10:53 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

I really hope he and the WRs get together for ALL of this week. Other than that, I'm happy we start with the Browns when he gets back. I could see it taking a week or two for him to get back to the Ben we know.

Watching Charlie side step pressure yesterday really made me miss him. At least 50% of those sacks are 20 yard gains with Ben. The other 50%? Still sacks...

Yea but remember what happened last year in Cleveland. I'm not taking anything for granted and I hope the players don't either.

That's exactly what I mean. I guess i should've clarified it more. A team we SHOULD beat, but we know will play us hard. We should go in there with a great mindset... ya know? But then again... we did lose to Oakland last year...

Oviedo
10-04-2010, 11:11 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

I really hope he and the WRs get together for ALL of this week. Other than that, I'm happy we start with the Browns when he gets back. I could see it taking a week or two for him to get back to the Ben we know.

Watching Charlie side step pressure yesterday really made me miss him. At least 50% of those sacks are 20 yard gains with Ben. The other 50%? Still sacks...

Yea but remember what happened last year in Cleveland. I'm not taking anything for granted and I hope the players don't either.

That's exactly what I mean. I guess i should've clarified it more. A team we SHOULD beat, but we know will play us hard. We should go in there with a great mindset... ya know? But then again... we did lose to Oakland last year...

With 12 game remaining, we could lose one-third and still end up 11-5. I don't think Ben is coming back to lose one-third of his starts. I'm confident the offense will be humming and hopeful the last minute drive we saw yesterday is not the same ugly issue we saw last season coming back again. Keep freaking Troy back in pass defense and not rushing.

Key is that we have to beat the teams we should beat starting with Cleveland.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
10-04-2010, 11:24 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Wonder who will be the first to jump on here and rip Ben and the team the first time he has a bad game which will happen.

We need to give him a few games before he adjusts because he missed the first four this season?

Batch had not started more than two games in a season since 2001 and so many on this board were calling for him to air it out after last week when he could have easily have had three or four picks.

Dennis Dixon had all of one start in his career before this season and many here were ready to have him as our QB while we trade away Ben.

Ben has missed 3 starts in the last four years before this year. He is a veteran, he has 2 SB rings, he is a franchise QB, he was at most of the team sessions this off-season, and he has two weeks to prepare.

I expect an open playbook for Ben against the Browns and beyond.

Chachi
10-04-2010, 11:29 AM
He'll hit the road running. 2 weeks to prepare for a team we should beat. Mendenhall having a good year and the OL coming together.

Couldn't happen at a better time.

cruzer8
10-04-2010, 01:57 PM
I don't expect a slow start at all.

Steeler fan in T.O. hit it right on the head!

Welcome back #7!!!!!!

steelsnis
10-04-2010, 08:20 PM
Wonder who will be the first to jump on here and rip Ben and the team the first time he has a bad game which will happen.


teeceemadison aka williar :wink:

hawaiiansteel
10-04-2010, 09:42 PM
Steelers must address passing woes with Ben Roethlisberger back

By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

http://i.usatoday.net/sports/_photos/2010/10/04/benx.jpg


PITTSBURGH — After a four-game NFL suspension, Ben Roethlisberger was back in black Monday at the Pittsburgh Steelers' complex on this city's South Side. He did not return as a team captain.

The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, a co-captain the past two seasons, was not selected to the position prior this season in a vote by teammates, who started 3-1 without him.

"I wasn't around the first four games, so it's something those guys voted on," said Roethlisberger, clad in a black, long-sleeved Steelers t-shirt and black warm-up pants.

"Obviously, that's an awesome honor to be voted a captain … but that's something that you have to earn, and I'll come out and give them the best (I) can. Just because you're not a captain doesn't mean you can't give this team all you've got."

10 QUESTIONS: Does Big Ben make Steelers NFL's best team?
He rejoins a team that was unbeaten until Sunday's 17-14 loss to the division rival Baltimore Ravens. It also is a team that without him now ranks 31st among 32 NFL teams in passing .

"I'm just excited to get back and get focused on football and focus on this year and trying to get to Dallas (this season's Super Bowl venue)," said Roethlisberger, suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"I hate being away from football."

During his suspension, Roethlisberger was banned from all practices and meetings. He watched games at home on TV while Dennis Dixon started the first two at quarterback and Charlie Batch started the next two.

"I have no fingernails left. It was hard, it really was to watch them at home," he said. " … But it was fun watching them win."

Roethlisberger practiced and played with the Steelers the entire preseason, starting three games, playing about a quarter in each and hitting 14 of 20 passes for 182 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.

While suspended, he worked out at suburban Hampton High School, near his home in a Hampton Township. He was tutored during the workouts by private quarterbacks coach George Whitfield Jr., who heads Whitfield Athletix in La Jolla, Calif.

Roethlisberger said of his routine, "I worked out for 2-2˝ hours, longer than I would be if I was out here practicing, threw more balls than I would have if I was here."

Whitfield told SI.com's Peter King that Roethlisberger is going to come back "sharper and hungrier." The quarterback will have a bye week to get ready for Pittsburgh next game at home against the Cleveland Browns.

Whitfield said Roethlisberger threw to high school players and former NFL receiver Devard Darling.

"He likes the fact that this is like a one-month mechanics camp," Whitfield told SI.com. "He's a very self-aware quarterback. He'll say, 'I pat the ball, I over-stride, sometimes I'm sloppy in my drop — let's work on those things.' I think he's been very happy to be able to take some time to work on things he believes will make him a better player."

While the bye comes at an opportune time for the Steelers to get Roethlisberger ready, he said he has mixed feelings about it.

"I want to play this week," he said. " … But if you look at it … I guess it's a good thing to have two weeks of practice to get out there."

Roethlisberger was suspended in the aftermath of a sexual assault complaint filed against him in March by a 20-year-old college student in Georgia. Following an investigation, authorities in Georgia did not file criminal charges. He was still subject to disciplinary action by Goodell, who initially suspended him for six games.

Goodell reduced the suspension for four games at the finish of the preseason. "You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions," Goodell said in a letter to Roethlisberger. "Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment."

Roethlisberger was asked if he has changed as a person.

"I think it brings you back to your roots," he said. "It doesn't make you a new person as much as it takes to you back to who you want to be and who you're raised to be."

He was cheered by thousands of Steelers fans when he took the field for his first practice of the preseason. How does he expect fans to treat him when he returns against Cleveland?

"I have no idea," he said. "If I've seen people out in public there's been a lot of warm embraces and lot of 'can't wait to get you back, keep your head up.' … So I would hope there is going to be some encouraging cheers and some good things, I hope."

Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace said recently he expects Roethlisberger to be ready to go.

"He's one of the best in the league," Wallace said after Pittsburgh's third game in Tampa.

When suspended April 21, Roethlisberger he was temporarily barred from offseason workouts pending what the league called a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation" by professionals. He was allowed to resume workouts with team in early June.

"He sat out for a few weeks before he came to OTAs (organized team activities), and he came to OTAs and looked like he never missed a day," said Wallace. "I am not worried about it at all."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... rger_N.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/2010-10-04-ben-roethlisberger_N.htm)

NorthCoast
10-04-2010, 10:17 PM
In case you have not been paying attention, the Browns are a changing team. This Hillis guy has more than 270 yds rushing in the last two weeks against Cinci and Bmore. They don't have any WR threats outside of Cribbs but their Defense has been hitting people with attitude. This will be no walk in the park especiallly if the Steelers lose focus like they did this week. For J' sake how does a guard get a false start penalty...he is the next closest to the center? total lack of focus in the last game...

BradshawsHairdresser
10-04-2010, 11:56 PM
In case you have not been paying attention, the Browns are a changing team. This Hillis guy has more than 270 yds rushing in the last two weeks against Cinci and Bmore. They don't have any WR threats outside of Cribbs but their Defense has been hitting people with attitude. This will be no walk in the park especiallly if the Steelers lose focus like they did this week. For J' sake how does a guard get a false start penalty...he is the next closest to the center? total lack of focus in the last game...

I expect a close, hard-fought game. I hope the Steelers come out on top. Another divisional loss this early in the season would be difficult to take.

Sugar
10-05-2010, 08:36 AM
It will be very important for Timmons and Co. to keep Hillis in check. If they do that, the D can handle the Browns. Ben will only have to take what's given him and we should be fine.

That said, it's still a tough game and this Browns team looks every bit as the Ravens and Bengals who they've played the last couple weeks.

feltdizz
10-05-2010, 09:14 AM
It will be very important for Timmons and Co. to keep Hillis in check. If they do that, the D can handle the Browns. Ben will only have to take what's given him and we should be fine.

That said, it's still a tough game and this Browns team looks every bit as the Ravens and Bengals who they've played the last couple weeks.

I agree... there game was next to ours at Fox and Hound and Cleveland looks much better. Seneca Wallace actually looks decent... the Hills guy is running hard... but their secondary isn't the greatest.

We have yet to have a year where the O and D is clicking on all cylinders. I'm anxious to see if this is the year.

steelblood
10-05-2010, 09:40 AM
With 12 game remaining, we could lose one-third and still end up 11-5. I don't think Ben is coming back to lose one-third of his starts. I'm confident the offense will be humming and hopeful the last minute drive we saw yesterday is not the same ugly issue we saw last season coming back again. Keep freaking Troy back in pass defense and not rushing.

Key is that we have to beat the teams we should beat starting with Cleveland.

We play

Clevelandx2, Oakland, Buffalo, and Carolina (we will be the favorite in all five games, but as we saw last year, we could lose one or two. Cleveland and Oakland both have good defenses).

Then we play 7 tough games.
@Baltimore
Cincinnati
@Cincinnati
@NO
@NE
NYJ
Miami
Cincinnati waxed us twice last year. The Ravens game will be on the road and Ed Reed will be back. The Jets looks very good right now. Miami has a great defense. NO and NE will be tough road matchups (especially for our CBs).

I think 11-5 would be a great accomplishment given that schedule.

Steelers>NFL
10-05-2010, 10:40 AM
Having Ben back is going to be a huge boost, but lets be realistic and recognize he has not played at game speed for a long time and there will be some stumbles once he gets back. IMO they ned to continue to rely on the run game heavily the first couple of games back.

Exactly my thoughts. It would be nice if Ben is able to come out and perform at his best right away, but realistically, he may need a game or two to get up to speed.

I really hope he and the WRs get together for ALL of this week. Other than that, I'm happy we start with the Browns when he gets back. I could see it taking a week or two for him to get back to the Ben we know.

Watching Charlie side step pressure yesterday really made me miss him. At least 50% of those sacks are 20 yard gains with Ben. The other 50%? Still sacks...

Yea but remember what happened last year in Cleveland. I'm not taking anything for granted and I hope the players don't either.

Last year's lost against Cleveland was ALL om Arians. Period!

hawaiiansteel
10-05-2010, 05:48 PM
Ed: Ben Looks in Mid-Season Form

TUESDAY, 05 OCTOBER 2010 16:41 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE


Ben Roethlisberger not only returned to the Steelers on Monday, he was back by Tuesday. His first practice looked as though he never left. He was zipping accurate passes all over the place and, frankly, after seeing all the other quarterbacks for the past month, the difference was striking.

You almost forget how good this guy really is. Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon both have strong arms and Charlie Batch has moxie and throws an accurate ball. But there is something different when Roethlisberger does it.

He threw passes at practice today that were crisp and accurate.

I have no doubt that his return will not only lift the passing game noticeably but also open up the running game. Mike Wallace’s stats will explode. So, too, should Heath Miller’s.

The offense will take on a whole new look from the stodgy thing we’ve seen in three out of the first four games. Roethlisberger is, at 28, at the peak of his career and he looks every bit that way. He looked that way in training camp and through the preseason and he looked that way in practice on Tuesday.

Yes, it was only practice. But this is a guy who has proven it throughout his career and has gotten better with age, culminating in his team-record 4,328 passing yards last season. Roethlisberger will not be throwing as often as he did last season. They will use their ground game more often, or at least as long as Rashard Mendenhall can remain upright.

Roethlisberger lost a big target in Santonio Holmes but Wallace looks ready to take the next step and I believe he will become a better receiver than Holmes, maybe even this year. He has better speed and more consistent hands.

The intriguing part of the first four games was the improvement in pass protection. Steelers quarterbacks were sacked nine times and while that is not good, especially for the fewer amount of passes thrown, the eye test was that offensive line protected their quarterbacks better. If so, if Roethlisberger gets even more time, he will be more dangerous.

You will have to wait until Oct. 17 to see all of this, but what we saw in practice Tuesday looked pretty good at quarterback.

http://ht.ly/19iWmH