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: