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Roethlisberger Says Offense Will Run More In 2012 So Fans Should Be Happy


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger once again had a microphone in his face on Wednesday after the team wrapped up their second practice of their second off-season OTA session, and once again he made a few comments that will be interpreted by many as a shot at both his new offensive coordinator Todd Haley as well as the fan base.

Roethlisberger was asked by Joe Starkey if it was just a matter of getting on-board now with Haley after he obviously didn\’t like the change of coordinators this past off-season to which the Steelers quarterback replied, “Yeah, absolutely. You have no choice and like I said we\’re coming along and everyday it\’s getting a little bit better and we\’re learning and we\’ll be running the ball a lot this year, so fans should be happy.” Starkey reconfirmed what he just heard by asking Roethlisberger if indeed the Steelers will be running a lot this season and if that was the plan. “I think so”, said Roethlisberger. He also added, “That\’s the way it seems. So we\’ve got some good ball carries and I know Red (Isaac Redman) is excited for the opportunity and I know the fans want it, so it looks like they\’ll be getting their wish.”

In the same interview Roethlisberger continued to say what he has in past interviews and that learning the new offense is uncomfortable as it includes change, not that change is bad though. He also said that he and Haley are still learning each other as well as the offense. All of that is to be expected this early on in the process.

Now were some of the remarks that Roethlisberger made warranted? Was this just yet another case of Ben being Ben? It is obvious that Roethlisberger reads the papers and listens to talk radio, but not all of the fan base wants to run 40 times a game. Most realize that the NFL is now a passing league and that you don\’t need to lead the league in rushing to win or compete for a Super Bowl. The Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and the Indianapolis Colts are all prime recent examples of that. When a team does run though, they need to be as effective as possible and there also must be some degree of balance of run versus pass as well.

Now obviously the offense will have a few new pieces on it this year, most recognizably on the offensive line, where there is a chance that two rookies could start and veteran Willie Colon makes the transition from right tackle to left guard. With a new offense being implemented, it will not be out of the question to see the Steelers start the season initially as a run first team as everybody gets acclimated to the Haley offense. After the first few games I doubt you will be able to decipher if the offense is run first or pass first offense. At least I believe that is what the goal of Haley is.

Is Roethlisberger still a little frustrated right now? I think so. Did he just purposefully give Starkey a sound bite that he knew would make waves and have bloggers such as myself writing about it? I think so. Is the nature and tone of the Wednesday interview anything that we haven\’t seen before from Roethlisberger? Absolutely not. This is just another case of Ben being Ben. It is his little defense mechanism of sorts. It is the way that he motivates himself in my opinion. As long as he executes as he has in the past and is only in the papers because of things he says and not things that he does off the field, I am perfectly fine. This is not the first time we have seen a quarterback in Pittsburgh have a “me against the fans” type attitude and it won\’t be the last one.

We have a long way to go before the start of the 2012 season, so you better prepare yourself for more interviews like the one Roethlisberger gave on Wednesday. It\’s just Ben being Ben. Accept it and move on.

You can read the column from Starkey here and listen to the complete audio of the interview below:

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Cols714

    Just an FYI. The Steelers led the league in time of possession last year and during Arians’ term they were 1st, 3rd, 5th, 5th, and 1st.

    I don’t know if Haley’s offense is going to score more or not, but this thought that’s taken hold that they will be better able to control the clock by running more does not seem to me to be likely.

    They may run more, but I doubt they will have the same success at TOP that BA had.

    I also think that LeBeau’s defense is predicated on this sort of thing. I believe there’s a quote somewhere about how the defense is schemed to only be on the field a certain amount of time.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is a part of me that believes this comment comes from a position of ignorance by Ben. If there are 100 plays in the playbook and they have focused on maybe half of them, the majority of things put in so far may be running plays. Lets say 30 running and 20 passing. So what does Ben think? We are only going to run the ball. No one has said that, but he is looking at the run plays as a negative.

    Ben has been so BAized, that he doesn’t see the value in being able to control the ball with the run any more. Instead of possessions being 3 run 8 pass, they will now be 5 run and 6 pass. WHAT you call those plays to be though will impact things. In addition, Ben doesn’t seem to get that unlike BA, Haley is going to run it down your throat until you can prove to us you can stop our run. If you can’t stop us running the ball, guess what Ben, your stats are going to be low that game.

    If Redman is piling up 5-6 yards per carry on 1st and 2nd down, you aren’t going to get a lot of opportunities to throw the ball. The passes in this case will make the safeties have to stay honest. We have become so focused on, we need to run the ball so that the safeties have to play the run, that we have forgotten it needs to be the other way around.

  • Jason White

    The problem is Arians had horrid playcalling inside the 20. No matter how much you want to pass the ball you must become balanced in the redzone cause its gonna become increasingly difficult to pass into the tighter zones. Arians had no sense of direction in terms of his running game. He didn’t have any clear strategy. He abused the all too predictable wide receiver screen. His playcalling led to not scoring in the redzone often enough. You can burn up time of possession all you want but when you settle for 3 too often you’re only wasting your time.

  • Danpio1217

    Agreed Dave, just Ben being Ben.

    Ever since BA was let go, the story in the national media has been all about ‘Ben vs. Haley’. I think that’s the wrong spin entirely. I think Ben’s problem isn’t with Haley, he’s just a little bitter still that the team got rid of his buddy BA.

    Let’s not forget Ben has been quoted regarding BA as a father figure. That’s not something you get over just like that. I think Ben’s still just a little bitter and little defensive about it, and this is his way of getting his feelings out there as politically correct as possible. ESPN and nfl.com see drama to be made from that and that’s the angle they’ve chosen to play. Blech.

  • SteelersDepot
  • JLE

    Has someone pointed out to Ben that the more he hands off the less he gets hit?

  • steelfan1

    when Ben and Haley win a SB he will be best buds with Haley as well. I like the chip and loyalty of Ben.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NXON22FQSDCCSA2WHZIRTHQWTU Greig

    From everything we have heard, it sounds like the new offense will look a lot like the Jets offense from 2010. The big difference, of course, is that Ben is a far superior passer when compared to Dirty Sanchez.

  • Newmann_a

    why would Crybaby Ben be sharing all of this information with the press ? Big moron

  • Jprankster2005

    I still love ben and always will.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I wouldn’t argue that he abused it in number of plays run or how efficient it was for us, I would say that it seemed he never ran anything else out of that formation. In the Denver game, the Color Guy called it as soon as we lined up. At some point, you must keep the Defense honest. BA did not do that with this particular play call.

    The play worked for us despite what many of us believed, it had just become predictable.

  • barcat

    Maybe it is just me giving Ben the benefit of the doubt, but I really do not get overly concerned from the interviews that I have heard. I feel that he is just being truthful and answering the questions that are asked of him. I don’t believe that he has this hidden agenda to covertly bash Haley at all. Ben wants to succeed and he is the leader of this team. I just think that a lot is blown out of proportion by the media and fans…

  • Steeltyke

    Excusing Roethlisberger as “it’s just Ben being Ben” is simply appeasement. Neither are his comments a good exaple to younger players. The more people are allowed to get away with then the more they push it. He needs to find a better way to motivate himself although I think that suggesting it is motivation is I think just another sign of further appeasement. One can say “it’s just TO being TO” or “it’s just Santonio being Santonio”. I am not suggesting that what Ben is doing is anywhere near as bad as the reputation TO has because I am not but going unchecked, behaviour usually worsens if the situation isn’t addressed – it can be done quietly, it doesn’t have to be public. Ben needs to get on board and get on with it. His comments are always going to be seized on by the media and the Steelers don’t need this sort of attention. He needs to act like a responsible adult and the professional he is paid handsomely to be, not like a child who has had his favourite toy taken away. I suspect that I might get a lot of flak for these comments but Ben is a great QB and I want him to show it again next season in the new offense without any distractions in the meantime.

  • Chris92021

    I love how Roethlisberger keeps taking pot shots at the fans. Face it kiddo, running the ball = you not getting destroyed every play. Arians might have been your friend off the field but on the field, he called plays that put your body in peril. Stop taking shots at Steeler Nation.

  • Mwormack

    If I were Ben I’d be mad too, any quarterback that doesn’t want to throw more shouldn’t be in the NFL. Running more does a lot of good things though, it keeps the Defense off of the field, it is frustrating for the opposing team when they can’t stop the run and it will hopefully prolong Ben’s career. Haley is the type of coach that probably wants to run more, but if teams load up in the box, he will pass. If teams drop back he will run. If we have a fullback in the game he might even pass.

  • Maverickchef311

    I wonder if all the fall starts, holding penalties, and Ben getting sacked helped inflate the Time of Posession….:)

  • SteelersDepot

    You can wish all you want, but if you think he is going to change you better find another wish. This is how he deals with things and always will. Get used to it.

  • Dave

    Ben needs to STFU, tired of acting like a little baby. He is supposed to be a leader on this team and someone the younger guys look up to. He needs to shutup, learn the system and play like he can.

  • mokhkw

    Agreed, & I think Starkey was fishing for a “quote” he could use to create some controversy.

    Nothing I heard indicates any sort of a problem imo, it’s early days yet and I think ultimately we’ll see a balanced offense which puts Ben in good positions to make plays. Of course there will be more running with the (hopefully) improved O-Line, that will lead to Play-Action, which has always been one of Ben’s strong points.

  • mokhkw

    Dis-information?

  • mokhkw

    Am I the only one who thought that Ben sounded positive?

  • Steeltyke

    I am sure that Ben doesn’t want to change just as he didn’t want to change the offense but he is supposed to be a professional and a leader. People making excuses for him only encourage him further.

  • JayBirdDC

    Ben’s a great QB and the Steelers are lucky to have him. But outside of that, I wouldn’t want to hang with the guy and can generally categorize him as a jagoff

  • Wdmason

    We love you Ben. At least I do. I remember the Kordell Stewart/ Mark Malone days and I dont want to go back there. I think we all realize how important you are to Steeler success.

    Ben is an exciting quarterback. I love seeing him scramble outside the pocket and complete passes. It must be sooo frustrating to other teams and their fans. The ability to come from behind is a tremendous asset. Running only works when you are ahead.

    I think we are trying to go back to being a ground ball control offense. Franco and Rocky Bleier, Jerome Bettis. We want to slam it down your throat. And then throw the play action bomb. Make it a little easier on Big Ben. Stay ahead, physically wear down the other team, keep our defense fresh but still have the ability to come from behind late in games.

    Will it work? I feel like Ben. I dont know. If it works we will have it all and be hard to stop.

  • David D.

    I don’t think most fans want more running…Just as I believe Mr Rooney said “more effective running”. Like being able to put a game away in the 4th qtr. or not going with a empty backfield so often on a 3rd & 1.

  • Mastiglitz

    Bens comments are getting ridiculous. I realize he and BA were close but he is starting to run the risk of losing support from the fan base.

  • SteelerDave

    Would be nice to be able to run on 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 3 and have a good chance of converting a first down instead of using an empty backfield.

  • NW86

    Agreed.

  • Bleebo77

    TOP is certainly important, but I wonder if it can backfire when it takes 10, 12, 15 plays to score. (Even worse when it’s just a field goal.) That’s a lot more plays for things to go wrong (sack, turnover), and it’s also a lot of 1st downs to pick up. The stats may prove me wrong, but I feel like PIT had a lot of long drives, but I’m not sure how many resulted in TDs (or even field goals). It’s nice to produce long drives, but it takes points to win games, and they were in the middle of the league in that category.

    I’m reminded of the NE game. PIT dominated TOP, but they only led 10-7 midway through the second after one long PIT drive only netted a FG and then NE turned a turnover into a quick 7.

  • Cols714

    So you want a big play offense? I’m OK with that.

  • Pete

    I have to admit, when Ben talks like that, even if he’s throwing out sound bites, he comes across as a pouting prima donna versus a team leader. I love the guy and think he’s the reason we’ve won 2 Super Bowls but I agree with those that think he should show more maturity and leadership. Maybe when the reporters are gone he jokes with team mates about the stupid questions.

  • Jb

    I also, think Ben is a bit of a baby, but at least he does help add fodder during these slow news times of the season. I believe that the Steelers coaches/management recognize that their defense (to be effective and better rested going into the playoffs) needs a more ball controlled offense. The team needs to control the clock once again. Buuuuut, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the team should run a “whole” lot more.

    I can see it now (if the Steelers become a heavy run team) the Steelers would have several games during the course of next season, where they defeat some “middle of the road” teams with their new found running game. The press and some fans will tell all of Pittsburgh how great it is that the team is returning to their roots of “smash mouth” football. Then the playoffs will come, against teams who are real Superbowl contenders, with coaches who know how to truly prepare… and the Steelers will end-up having a second season with a short run in the playoffs.

    The short passing game should become a consistent part of he Steelers offensive plan. However, most fans have seen that Ben does not seem to be a huge fan of short passes. So, the learning curve will continue. Hey Pittsburgh, it is better if the Steelers offense continues to stay more pass oriented. But, with better direction, with some planed roll-outs, getting the running backs out on the edges… and Ben actually throwing to them… and, of course, enough effective running so play-action is truly possible. All this while controlling the clock will take the Pittsburgh offense to a higher level.

  • Jmazzaiii

    i remember an interview a while back stating that Ben checked out of a ton of run plays last year. i think haley will call the run plays as much as BA did, but i think Haley will hold be accountable for checking out of it. I know its just one highlight but i saw haley chewing out warner for checking out of a play he called. I am interesting to see what happens this year. I think we will get some new looks but if ben is gonna try and flex his muscles and check out of the run we will see how it goes..

  • Bleakneyca

    Right on Dave. Watched him FU once too often and act like he could care less.

  • Bleakneyca

    Yeah, Ben needs to stick with the system, he’s not the coach and needs to realize you gotta roll with what you got, not what you wished you had.

  • Bleakneyca

    Ben always gives me the out with Browns fans, no matter what he says or does, I can always say. . . “Yeah he’s from Ohio, whatta ya expect.

  • Wdmason

    A lot of bad mouthing of Ben. I dont see how he said anything bad. What do you expect him to say? Its a new system. He hasnt learned it yet. He hasnt played one game yet.

  • Wdmason

    It would be nice to run on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1/2 and expect to succeed lol.

  • John A Stewart

    BEN IS A SPOIED JOCK NOT A STUDENT OF THE GAME UNDER AREINS I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN HIM THROW THE BALL AWAY WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE AND NOBODY WOULD SAY ANYTHING YOU HEAR ME TOMLIN.WITH HALEY BEN WILL BE AN EVEN BETTER QUARTERBACK . AND HE WILL HAVE A LONGER AND HEALTHIER CAREER LIKE ALL GREAT QUARTERBACKS AND WHAT HE HAS BEEN THRU IN THE PAST BEN JUST CHILL AND CHERISH BEING A STEELER

  • Fish

    Yes Ben, us fans that no nothing about football, as can be insinuated by your tone, would love to see the ball ran more and it will make us happy. It’s better football than throwing all the time with a quarterback that still can’t make his reads consistently, scramble around like a chicken with his head cut off, while making his O-line look bad for not being able to maintain blocks for 10 seconds until a receiver becomes high school wide open. Now that may be embellishing a little bit, but there’s a little truth to each one. A good established running game will help all of it.

    For those drinking the coolaid of it’s a “passing league” and you have to do it to win. The game continually evolves and it wasn’t so long ago that the league went through a similar phase. More importantly the Steelers bought into it and strayed from what they do without very good results. 2003 anyone?????? Remember what they did the following year and how it turned out? Although almost all of the current staff and players were not around for that and therefore wouldn’t have that knowledge, there are people still around who lived it. The Rooney’s did.

  • Man532

    Ben has played well and is a top QB, however, he fails to understand that a good running game opens passing lanes and protects him from hits. He also, doesn’t understand how well he throws the football from effective play action.

    AB’s offense put him into too many obvious passing situations, especially with 5 WR’s and nobody in the backfield as a threat. AB’s play calling: 1st Down 6 yards running the ball, 2nd down 5 WR’s go for bomb sack for 10 yd loss, 3rd down 5 WR’s Ben sacked or running for life.

    The fact that he doesn’t get this shows Ben’s lack of maturity at his age.

  • Steelone2010

    we as steelers fans are spoiled. BEN IS GREAT . TRY BE A REDSKIN FAN OR SOME OTHERS The man keeps us winners and never stops tryin to finish a play i love his effort. thats all

  • SteelSpine

    I agree that til we see 1st few games there is no way to guess what Haley will actually try more of, & our OL changes would lend itself better to running more the first few games than trying to pass. Even Haley might not know if his OTackles etc can pass protect.

    One thing about offensive coordinators: Every offensive coordinator the Steelers have had, have gotten bashed & blamed by some fans, & it’s that way with other teams too – OCoords seem to be easy targets for their fans to blame. But as a coach once said, “If you listen to what the fans want, then you’ll be sitting in the fans with them.” I would not want to be an OCoord, there are so many other factors. I hope Haley works out well here just so the players dont have to learn a new playbook 2 years from today (from firing him).

    I expect opponents to test our pass defense to try to take our run game out of it (via get a big lead) especially based on how old our defense appeared in Denver. Easier said than done against LeBeau, but maybe therefore this year opponents think they’ll kick down the steel wall (tho it didnt work for Bum Phillips said that:) But thank goodness we have a deep stable of WRs if teams do finally run up the score on our aging pass defense.

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