Inside the locker room: Ben Roethlisberger

December 12, 2012 by Teresa Varley

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke with the media prior to practice on Wednesday.

Re: This weekend’s game against Dallas:
It’s a big one for us. As we know, and those of you know that have been around here, it’s all about when you get hot and when you start playing good football. For us, the time is now. We need to start playing our best and try to put together a little run here.

Re: Talk about the team not being ready against San Diego:
I didn’t see that from the people I was around. I sensed maybe a little bit of trying to get it energized and get it going a little bit. But I think everyone was ready to play. I don’t think it has been addressed this week. I think you’ll see from guys that have been around here a while, it’s that time where you’ll start seeing some leaders stepping up in the ways of how to practice and how to get ready for games. Hopefully, the young guys take some cues from that.

Do you think there is a sense of desperation now, especially with Cincinnati losing?
No. Every game for us right now is big, it doesn’t matter if it’s AFC-NFC, Cincinnati or whoever it is. This is a big one for us. We need to come out and play ball, and I don’t want to use the word desperation because I don’t feel desperate. I just think that we need to put it together and play ball the way we know how to play ball.

As the offensive captain, what do you say to RB Rashard Mendenhall?
Just like Coach Tomlin said this morning, we’ll let him address all that stuff.

Does this season feel like it is atypical from how things usually are and turning the corner on two wheels?
I think that’s a good way to put it, turning the corner on two wheels. But I think the turn is over. I think we’re going to settle back on four, kick it into four-wheel drive and get going.

What makes you think that?
Just a feel. Like I said, it’s that time of year that you’re going to start seeing some guys that have been around here, that you’re going to start seeing a different mindset and mentality that it’s that time of year. In years past, it just is a natural thing. No one has ever had to say it because you’ve had so many guys that have done it before for such a long time that this time of year it’s a natural thing and it’s time to pick it up and go. We’re going to have some veteran guys starting to do that and like I said, we’ve got to get the young guys to do the same.

Is that an unspoken thing?
It has been since I’ve been around here and we’re going to try and keep it that way.

Re: Trying to find a rhythm last game:
I don’t know if the rhythm, or lack thereof, last week had anything to do with injury. I think I did come out a little anxious, a little rusty, but we just couldn’t put it together. From one phase of offense, one position, on any particular play, it wasn’t like we had any two positions doing the right thing. It was one of those funky things, and I think we’ve got it corrected.

Re: Dallas linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer:
They’re very good. Their defensive line, in general, is very good. It’s kind of where it starts for them. We consider them defensive linemen. They get after it. We’re going to have to put a special emphasis on blocking them and trying to take advantage down the field if we can block those guys.

Ware and Spencer bounce around from side to side, correct?
Yes. There’s no way to know exactly where they’re going to line up on any particular play.

Are you confident in G David DeCastro if he gets the start?
I’m always confident in the guys, no matter who it is. We’ll get a good look today because we’ll have some pads on and him knowing that he’s going to be in there and be the guy, I think he may have a different mindset and mentality than he’s had in previous weeks, where it’s been more feeling himself out and how his leg feels out there. Now, he has no choice. He’s going to have to be ready to go so I think today and tomorrow will be a big step to see where he is.

Re: Dallas QB Tony Romo being a high-profile quarterback:
He plays for “America’s Team,” right? [Laughs] I think the Steelers are the world’s team. We just want to go beat them.

Was there any thought of coming out of the game on Sunday once the score became lopsided?
Not that I know of. And if Coach [Tomlin] would have said something to me I would have told him, “No.” Doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t have been out, but I would not have wanted to come out, no matter what the score was. That’s just not me.

Those reps helped you knock the rust off, right?
Yeah, why not? I want to be out there. I never want to quit.

How did the jacket you wore to protect your ribs work?
I didn’t even wear anything different, other than I had a little bit of padding on the outside of my shoulder pads and that was little bulky, so I took it off.

How do you feel after a couple days removed from the game?
Normal Wednesday. No major setbacks so I actually feel pretty good.

Is there any concern that WR Mike Wallace’s confidence is shaken at all?
No. None whatsoever. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Mike. He’s got it in himself and we all have it in him that he’s going to come out and be great. There was never a second thought in my mind about it.

Did you guys talk after the first half?
I kind of unloaded. I laid into the whole offense, not just Wallace. I think we all deserved to get booed, which I feel like we did.

Re: Playing in Dallas against the Cowboys and not the Packers:
I just got done talking with the Dallas media and they asked me about my memories of that place. I said I don’t have any, and I don’t remember any.

Did you put that Super Bowl out of your head?
Yeah, that’s right.

Re: Your first trip to Dallas earlier in your career:
That was a long time ago. I was talking about that. That’s the old stadium and that seems like a long time ago. That was the last time we played in Dallas.

Re: Getting WR Plaxico Burress his first catch and his role moving forward:
It was really cool to get him the ball. I knew that play when we called it, we practiced it during the week, and I was about 98% sure I was going to him no matter what. I kind of forced it into some traffic but in typical fashion, he goes up and makes a play, gets hit and gets up. It was really neat for me. It was a nostalgic type of thing and for the crowd to cheer for him, I really enjoyed it. We’ll see about using him as we keep going. I would like to. I think he’s a great target and asset to this team.

Is that the type of play that only works once?
No, not necessarily because we have other options. But it worked out pretty well that time.

Do you think Burress is ready for a bigger role?
I do. I think he’s been putting a lot of extra time in and work on getting himself ready and prepared and understanding this offense. I do think he’s ready to expand his role.

Are you still talking to Bruce Arians?

What is about Arians that allows him to communicate so well with young quarterbacks?
He’s a player’s coach. I talked to some of the other Colts’ players and they really enjoy playing for him. They respect him. They’ve got something special going on over there. It’s really neat to see with Coach [Chuck] Pagano and all of the stuff they’re going through.

Are you still playing for a player’s coach or is the style different?
Oh yeah. I think we are. Absolutely.


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