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Steelers Blog

Inside the locker room: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 5, 2012 – 4:33 pm

How did the first practice go?
It was good. It was good to be out there again. I threw the ball a little bit.

Do you feel you are closer to playing?
We will see how it feels tomorrow. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to Coach Tomlin about what is going to happen.

Re: Making the throws:
I’m getting there. I have to talk to Heath Miller. He’s my barometer. He tells me how close I am to 100% on velocity and stuff like that.

What’s the feeling in the shoulder and chest as you throw?
It’s cold out there, so that doesn’t help. There is a little bit of pain and tightness. We aren’t worried about that feeling right now.

What do you have to do this week to play?
Coach Tomlin could probably answer that better. I am just trying. I think I took 3-4 reps in each period, roughly, give or take a few. I am just trying to get a feel for the throws I can and cannot make.

Do you have to convince Coach Tomlin?
I don’t know. I just have to do what I can.

Re: Coach Tomlin saying you need to prove you can play:
That’s probably because I would tell him I could go every week. Regardless if I was 10%, I would tell him that I wanted to go. He just wants to see if I can get it done and do it.

Re: Being ready when you are ready:
I want to be out there. I’ve wanted to be out there for a couple of weeks now. When it is time, and my body says go and Coach Tomlin says go, I will be ready to go.

Would it be a bonus to play against Philip Rivers in your comeback game?
Yeah, he’s another ‘04 draft class guy. It would be fun.

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Tomlin: “It was a positive day for Ben”

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 5, 2012 – 4:28 pm

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a full participant in practice on Wednesday for the first time since he injured his shoulder against the Kansas City Chiefs and Coach Mike Tomlin liked what he saw.

“I thought it was a positive day for Ben,” said Tomlin. “He threw the ball around both vertically and horizontally. I thought the ball had good velocity, particularly in a few instances. It was positive. Obviously, we’ll see how his body responds to it tomorrow, but I thought today was a good step. We’ll see what tomorrow holds for us.”

Roethlisberger hasn’t played in the last three games, but if he continues to progress he could play this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field.

“I’ll see how his body responds in the morning and we’ll go from there,” said Tomlin. “But it was a positive day today. He made all the necessary throws.”

Also practicing on Wednesday were wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), running back Will Johnson (concussion) and quarterback Byron Leftwich (ribs).

Nine players missed practice on Wednesday, including tackles Mike Adams (ankle) and Willie Colon (knee), receiver s Antonio Brown (ankle), Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder) and Mike Wallace (knee), safeties Ryan Clark (hip) and Troy Polamalu (not injury related), cornerback Ike Taylor (ankle), and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle).

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Allen excited for opportunity

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 5, 2012 – 4:20 pm

Cornerback Cortez Allen hates the fact that teammate Ike Taylor will not play this week, the first time he hasn’t played in a game since the 2004 season, but at the same time he knows he has to take advantage of the opportunity in front of him.

Allen will be starting in Taylor’s left cornerback spot Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field, after Taylor suffered a fractured ankle against the Ravens.  

“Stepping in for Ike are big shoes to fill,” said Allen. “I have a lot of respect for him and what he brings to the field. He is my mentor as far as the game is concerned. I lean on Ike a lot as far as his wisdom. He is in his 10th year and he brings a lot to the table as far as just knowledge. I am always in his ear about things.

“But like Coach (Mike) Tomlin said the ball keeps rolling and I have to fill in that spot to help the team out.”

Allen, who competed for the starting right cornerback spot that Keenan Lewis secured at the start of the season, is making his first NFL start as he fills that spot, and is understandably pumped for it.

“It’s exciting,” said Allen. “If I wasn’t excited about this opportunity what am I am here for. This is something you look forward to doing as a football player. You want to be a starter. It’s a big test for me to show I can handle the job.”

Allen said he will handle this week the same as he has every other week this season, the big difference being there will be more on his plate playing every down.

“I take the approach you should always be prepared,” said Allen. “I was ready for this. I feel the coaching staff and teammates are confident in me to get the job done. That’s all I can go out there and do. The good thing is I am going into the week with a chance to study a broader view of the game.”

Last week Allen got thrown into the fire against the Ravens, stepping in early when Taylor went down. The Ravens tested him early and often, and he expects something similar this week.

“Being the new guy you know they are going to go at you,” said Allen. “I am prepared for it each week. You have to be ready for it. Every down that you play, you have to play as if it’s coming to you. I was ready for it and expecting it and I accept that challenge.”

He also grew from the experience. While he might not have been completely pleased with the performance, he held his own and gained plenty of confidence from those around him.

“I had a few ups and downs but that is expected in the course of the game,” said Allen. “It’s things to learn from and I will make my corrections in practice and be ready for the next game.

“I learned to be a little more technically sound and settle down a little bit. As the game wore on I felt more comfortable and felt like I progressed. Playing a full game I got a good taste of that. Going into this game I will feel more prepared.”

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Inside the locker room: Charlie Batch

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 5, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Are you ready for this week?
I’m ready. I’m coming back in and just preparing for San Diego this week. I’m just excited.

Is it hard approaching a week like this where you don’t know if you will be the starter, even though it was the same situation last week?
Same situation last week. I’ll have a better indication as the week unfolds but as I stand here in front of you now I honestly don’t know.

What has it been like for you in the days since you beat the Ravens?
A lot of [time in the] ice tub. [Laughs]

What did Baltimore do for your confidence and the confidence of the offense?
I think just going out there, doing something that nobody thought we could do, I think everybody was eager to get back on the field because of the performance we had in Cleveland. You turn the ball over eight times, you lose the ball game, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. For me, I was hoping to get that opportunity and go out there and have another shot. We knew it was going to be tough and it was just one of those things that we had to do whatever we needed to do to win.

It was a tough week last week, right?
It was. That’s the nature of football. You look back one week and if you don’t do the job, you have to live with those results all week and people continue to talk about it. Everybody was just excited to put it behind them when we got in here on Wednesday.

Do you have to take the majority of reps this week?
I would like to have all the reps if you know you’re going to be the starter for the week. But as long as Ben [Roethlisberger] is ready to go he’s going to go. Then you kind of fall back into the role which you normally fall back into. I’m used to that, which is typically preparing if you’re going to play but then not necessarily get the reps and ultimately not play. I understand both sides of it and right now I’m comfortable either way.

Did you need the cold tub just for your arm or for everything else?
No, I do it all the time, jump into the ice tub. But it’s something after a game you don’t really know how sore you are until about 24 hours after the game. For me, I just try to stick with my routine. I was in there a little bit longer at times.

Is it a situation where you want to play but you also want Roethlisberger back in there?
You always want to play but my role is the backup. So, if he’s ready to play you can’t be sad about that. Ben is the guy. So, whenever Ben is ready to go he’s going to be out there and he’s going to do everything in his power to be out there.

Did your performance buy Roethlisberger an extra week to heal up?
All I do is go out there, and if I’m called upon, do my job and I don’t know in what capacity. You never want to wish injury on anybody and as long as [Roethlisberger] is healthy he’s going to be out there. Selfishly, you look at it as an opportunity to go out and play because that’s why we’re ultimately here..

You said your struggles against Cleveland were a result of poor decision-making rather than rust. Do those two things play hand-in-hand? Did you feel sharper with your decision-making against Baltimore?
No, it goes back to another week of preparation which I had and going out there and doing your job. For me, it was one of those things where I’m not going to use an excuse and I refuse to do that. I know I played bad against Cleveland and it was just one of those things of going out and proving that I could go out there and lead the team and that’s all I was trying to do. It wasn’t one way or another and I’m not going to sit here and do that, and I never will use anything as an excuse.

Re: The image of the emotional hug between you and Roethlisberger after the game:
That was in the game and something that when you look at it, you’re playing you leave everything on the field. The game is emotional. It’s just something that people will see that and for me you look at it, it’s a new opportunity this week. It’s not something that I’ll continue to talk about.

What is your reaction to people to talking about your age? Happy birthday, by the way.
Thank you. As long as you’re able to do it, regardless of your age, there might be some 26-year olds that feel worse than I do. It doesn’t matter. I think that’s something that media tends to put on people as far as age. But realistically, in this business, when you’re 30 years old they consider you old, but when you’re my age your pretty much ancient. That’s just something that is the nature of the game. At some point, there’s always going to be young guys that are going to come in and take your job. That’s just part of it. There’s nothing you can do about it because I’m sure there are a bunch of 40-year olds that think they can still but, unfortunately, they don’t get the opportunity.

Did you need a game like that? Did you feel like you needed to prove anything to yourself?
Yeah, because I wanted to go out there and prove that the Cleveland game was not me. That was more or less anything, just going out there and doing my job. But not knowing if I would have that opportunity that following week added up to the whole week. Because you’re like, “Wow, that was the last game I started this year.” It would be tough to swallow that. You just don’t know. You just go through it each week and see how it plays out.

Did you ponder if that was the final start of your career?
No, you never start thinking about that. For me, I just look back and I don’t know how the rumors started anyway at the top of the week on that. After the game, you look because you just don’t know how things are going to play out because you look back and you say maybe there is a possibility that Ben is going to start this week and if he does, I won’t start. Bottom line. So you always are going to look at that and think is this your last game starting or not. There could have been a time this year where maybe I didn’t start at all if he didn’t get injured. You just don’t know how that whole thing plays out. When you’re a  backup there’s times that you may start a game during the season or there may be years before you get a start. You just don’t know how the whole thing unfolds.

What are your expectations for the week? Will you split the snaps?
Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how [Roethlisberger] is going to feel throughout the course of practice. Maybe there are some plays that he may not need or there may be plays where he does want one. If he wants them, then my reps are going to be less. I just don’t know how this thing is going to unfold. I probably will have a better answer after practice.

Do you have the whole menu of plays available to you?
I have the whole menu of plays but I think when you look at this situation now, it’s almost like, if he does take more reps, now I’m not just taking the first team reps, I have to also put on the Philip Rivers helmet.

Won’t QB Brian Hoyer do that?
It could be both because maybe he needs a break. Ben’s not going to do it. [Laughs] That’s just how it goes. It something that I just don’t know how this thing is going to unfold.

What are you doing for your birthday?
Relaxing. I’m working.

What have you seen from the Chargers and how important is it to not have letdown after the Baltimore win?
They are very tough. Their defense is solid and they’ve been playing solid the entire year. Two weeks ago they had Baltimore on the ropes and gave up a fourth-and-29 play before they ultimately lost that football game. We can’t take anything for granted. We know they’re going to be tough coming in here and we need to expect their best, which we know we’re going to get.

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Vote for Batch

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 5, 2012 – 1:09 pm


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