Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked to the media before practice on Wednesday about this week’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Re: The Raiders’ defense:
They’re a good defense, especially up front. They have a good front seven. Their defensive line gets after it. We just have to be prepared for anything in the secondary, from man coverage to zone.
Re: The trip out west to Oakland:
Bring a lot of movies. It’s so quick. It’s a long flight but you’re there Saturday night, you go to the game, then you fly back. It’s not like you’re there for a week.
How much do you remember from your last game in Oakland when you were battling concussion symptoms?
I remember throwing like six or seven picks and it being a crazy, hostile place. That’s about it. And losing the game.
If the injury you were suffering from the same injury today as the last time you played in Oakland, would you be allowed to play?
Do you recall being fuzzy during that game?
I don’t remember. It was so long ago and I even forgot that I had a concussion the week before until you all just brought it up. Honestly, I think the interceptions kind of overshadowed everything.
Re: Defenses rushing the quarterback on a kneel-down play:
It’s tough. I kind of see both sides of it. If I was at quarterback I wouldn’t be happy with it. If it was my defense, I’d say, “Way to go until the end of the game.” It’s hard. You never want to hurt anybody, especially this early in the season. It’s not like it’s a playoff game and something is going on. There are times when we take a knee at the end of halves and we’ll tell the defense that we’re taking a knee and everyone backs off. I think at this level that’s probably proper etiquette.
Do you think defenses rushing the quarterback when he takes a knee is going to catch on in the league?
Let’s hope not. If someone doesn’t get hurt, it’s going to start a fight. Who knows what could happen?
Is it an unwritten rule to not rush the quarterback taking a knee or is it communicated?
Both. If you’re going down there’s no need to do it. I’ve had that before where guys have jumped over and tried to hit us. It’s not fun. You tell your guys to fight to the end but I could see fighting to the end if it is a run play and not necessarily a kneel-down.
Re: Talk of banning the kneel-down:
I’d do the same thing they do now except put the quarterback about 10 yards deep, put two protectors back there and just snap to him and let him take a knee back there. If you lose 10 yards who cares?
Re: Being able to make so many plays on third down and struggling on first and second down:
We’re making something happen it seems like. I just got done talking to Oakland and they asked how we can possess the ball for so long without being able to run the ball. It seems like it’s first and second down and nothing’s really happening and then it’s, “Hey, go make something happen on third down you guys.” We’ve been able to do that on third downs and make things happen, whether it’s the tight ends, running backs, receivers, or the line giving me time. I don’t know. I know we don’t want to do it all year, I’ll tell you that much.
What can you do to help the running game get started?
I don’t know. Carry out my fake? I feel like a do a good job of that. I don’t know if it’s schematic. I don’t know what it is.
Re: Becoming predictable on offense:
That’s the key is not being predictable. That’s on coaches to know what our tendencies on different downs and things like that. We put our faith and trust in them that they’ll figure out what we need to do.
Re: Having to take timeouts when switching personnel groups:
We also need to figure out to why it feels like the play clock is getting started a lot faster than it ever has in the past. I don’t feel like all the time that the plays are late getting in. There are times that we’re trying to communicate and that’s just a natural occurrence. I don’t care how you’re doing it, there are times that you have to take a timeout because the play clock is running down. We just have to make sure we keep working on communication and getting plays and personnel in because we are changing guys in and out a lot. That’s kind of on everybody to keep working at.
Re: Not using more three wide receiver sets and no-huddle against the Jets when they were shorthanded in the secondary:
That’s Coach Haley’s call. He’s the one that calls all of the plays. There was no no-huddle. Our no-huddle is usually when we have three wide receivers on the field. They saw something and wanted to run the ball with multiple tight ends and keep you guys and the fans happy I guess.
Did you consider using the no-huddle at any point during the game?
It got brought up one time. Right before halftime, Coach Tomlin came to me and asked what I thought about it. I was all for it but we never really got to it. We got the win. That’s all that matters.
What do you see from the Raiders defense?
In the past, they’ve done a lot of man coverage in the secondary and really gotten after you up front. They’re still going to get after you up front but from what I saw last game, we don’t know if it was just against the team they played, but it looked like they did a lot more zone stuff. That could also be because of a depleted secondary. They’ve got a lot of corners with injuries. We’re kind of going in anticipating two things. We’ll see how it goes.
Re: Playing a different style this season by getting rid of the ball and sliding rather than taking hits:
The crazy thing is that I’m not really trying to do anything different. It’s just the way I’m playing the game. There was no real intention ever to slide and get down or dump the ball off. It’s the way I feel like I’ve always played and if guys are open on the check-downs I get it to them. I don’t really feel like I’m doing anything different.
Re: Facing Raiders DT Richard Seymour for the first time since he was ejected against the Steelers in 2010:
It was more of a surprise, and I had said this afterwards, because he’s not a bad person. He and I know each other and we’ve talked. It’s more of a shocking thing. I’ve seen him since and we’ve had laughs about it.
Re: Struggles to protect the quarterback on the road:
When you’re at home, you control the cadence and you control the get-off. When you’re on the road, it’s a lot harder to do that. It’s tough to go to a place that’s going to be loud and a little hostile because the advantage always goes to the home team on offense and defense. It’s tricky. The key is to get out early and get a good jump on them.
How much will it affect the game plan if the Raiders’ starting corners are not able to play?
Everyone is in this league for a reason. It doesn’t matter where you are on the depth chart. To me, we approach it like it’s anybody else. We protect and attack and do what we have to do.
Re: TE Heath Miller’s start:
We’re trying to get him to the Pro Bowl. He’s deserved it for a long time. Heath is a weapon and we have to continue to use him out in the field and in the red zone. Like I’ve always said, he blocks like a lineman and catches like a receiver. If we keep utilizing him it will be big.
Does it matter if first downs come from the run or the pass?
It doesn’t. Like I’ve said, we’ve been controlling the ball because we’ve been pretty good on third downs. That’s the key. We always want to be good, whether we’re running the ball or not. We’ve had to keep controlling it and converting our third owns, regardless if it’s long or short, run or pass.
Re: Deciding what receiver to throw the ball to on Heath Miller’s back shoulder catch against the Jets:
There were about four options on that play and one was a run. I had two receivers but I saw the matchup with Heath and then it was just a matter of getting him the right route because he didn’t really have a route. We call it off of what coverage he gets. It was a safety that was on him. I like that matchup. I’ll take Heath Miller because he’s a big target and if you put it up for him, he’ll make the play.
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger
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