Inside the locker room: Ben Roethlisberger

October 31, 2012 by Teresa Varley

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke to the media before practice on Wednesday, talking about the offense and the Giants game this week.

Do you expect to continue to avoid being sacked against the Giants’ defensive front?
You put a lot of faith in your offensive line, running backs and tight ends. They’ve done a great job this year. We’ll keep trying to do the best we can to avoid sacks.

What do you attribute avoiding sacks to this year?
A little bit of a lot of things, really. The line has been doing a great job. Our offense is kind of designed for that, the “dink and dunk” offense, the shorter passes and just making plays. I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things.

Do you feel physically better because you’re taking fewer hits?
I feel about the same. When you get the high ankle sprain and things like that, it’s unavoidable. Right now I feel great, just like I did last year at this time.

Re: The Giants giving up 400 yards passing to the Cowboys last week:
I just got done talking to the New York media about that. It’s so deceiving because the Cowboys were down and you’ve got to try and score as much as you can. I think that number is a little bit deceiving.

Why has the time of possession been so good and what has it meant to the offense?
I think a big part of it is converting third downs. We’ve had a lot of long drives that we’ve converted a lot of third downs on. I think our third-down conversion percentage is still really high I believe. I think that’s the biggest one.

When people use the phrase “dink and dunk” does it bother you at all?
That’s what we are. Like I said, when I said it a couple of weeks ago people made a big deal about it like I was being negative. When I grew up, the 49ers, that’s what they did. That’s what a West Coast offense is. Not saying we’re a West Coast offense but “dink and dunk’ is not a negative term. We’re taking advantage of quick, fast receivers, a lot of different receivers, running backs, tight ends, guys getting open. Especially when defenses take away the big play down the field, that’s what’s open.

How’s this offense different from a West Coast offense?
Terminology is a lot different. Just the system, the way a West Coast works with things that are kind of more in-depth than we get into. It’s similar in ways when you talk about a lot of short passes.

Does it matter who starts at running back for you guys?
No. We always say it’s the next guy up and whoever’s ready to go. That’s really the case. We’ve got a lot of capable guys that we feel confident and comfortable with.

Re: The people affected by the storm:
Your heart goes out for all the families, the people, everybody up there that is going through a really tough time right now. It’s just a crazy thing that’s going on right now. Like I said, our thoughts and prayers are with everybody.

Re: OT Max Starks:
I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s a new dad. It’s awesome to have him out there because I’ve got so much confidence in him having my blind side. I just always know that he’s going to be a guy you can trust and count on. He’s been there for this organization and for me for a long time.

Re: WR Emmanuel Sanders having to meet with league about possibly faking an injury:
I can’t talk about that.

Do you think opponents have faked injuries against the Steelers?
People get hurt. That’s the way it is. You can’t control injuries in this league.

Are you looking more toward TE Heath Miller this season, particularly in the red zone?
Yeah, I mean he is who he is. He’s a great player. I just have comfort in him. It’s not necessarily because we call more plays for him. It’s just the way it is. He’s getting open and we are calling some more things for him.

Is Miller’s production a product of the new offense?
I think it’s a little bit of the offense. We’re getting down there and he’s taking some screens. I think last week we called a screen to him. Like his touchdown last week, it was a regular drop back pass that I scrambled on and he scrambles and makes a play.

So Miller wasn’t the main target on the touchdown pass last week?

Is the offense more consistent than in years past?
Well, we’re playing pretty well. We always said that we felt like we had a good group coming into this year and we felt that the sky was the limit for us. We’re playing pretty well right now but we still feel like we can get better.

Does any player on their defensive front scare you more than the others?
No. All of them [scare me]. You can’t put all your attention on one guy because there are five or six them that will just get after you.

If the Giants defense overpursues does that open up the running game?
Possibly. I think they put a lot of comfort and trust in their front guys to stop the pass and the run. It will be a challenge for us.

Who is better from your draft class, you or Eli?
Eli. He’s got the most recent championship and he’s a good player. I’m happy to be here and he’s happy to be there I’m sure.

Do you think the offensive line is getting used to the offense and more fresh at the end of games?
I just think they want to finish. It’s always the linemen’s mentality at the end of the game to put the nail in the coffin. It’s all I’m saying in the huddle is, “Let’s step on their throat. Let’s just keep going and put them right into the ground.”


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