Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told the media on Wednesday that he had apologized to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, as well as the Rooney family, for his comments made after the 27-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday. Those comments consisted of Roethlisberger being critical of the play calling and the lack of use of the no-huddle. The Steelers quarterback wrote those comments off on Wednesday as him being frustrated following the loss.
During his Wednesday talk with the media, however, Roethlisberger did say that he thinks that teams are on to the Steelers short passing game and that moving forward they need to push the depth of the passing game more as a result.
“They’re definitely keeping an eye on a lot of our short passes, the quick game, as we call it, because we’ve done a lot of it, said Roethlisberger, when asked if opposing defenses have been more effective at disrupting the timing on short passes as of late. “That’s how we started the year and we’ve been pretty successful at doing that stuff. They have sat on a lot of short routes, which means we need to take advantage of that, double-move and push the depth a little more.”
So ho much difference is there from this year to last year in regard to short passes? 62.2% of the passes thrown this year by Roethlisberger have traveled 9 yards or less versus 55.6% last season for starters and 26.5% of his passes have been thrown 10-19 yards versus 30.2% last season.
The shorter passing game has, however, produced a slightly higher pass completion percentage for Roethlisberger as well as a lot fewer sacks and hits. On the flip side, however, is the fact that his yards per attempt is down as is his amount of passing explosive plays of 20 yards or more.
It certainly is a give and take situation here and there is a fine line to be walked moving forward. You can tell that Roethlisberger thinks that the depth should be pressed just a bit more to keep defenses a little more on their heels and that certainly is understandable.
Of course the Steelers receivers haven\’t helped their quarterback out this season with all of the drops, so obviously execution of plays is the biggest factor on each and every play.
What Roethlisberger is trying to say here is that when he sees defenses cheating the shorter routes consistently they need to take some deeper shots down the field to back those defenders off.
Of the 36 passes worth charting against the Cowboys this past Sunday, Roethlisberger threw 13 of them 10 yards or longer. That equates to 36%, which is just below his season average.
One thing to keep mind here as we inch closer to the game Sunday is that the Bengals have allowed 47 pass plays this year of 20 yards or more. On the flip side of that, however, they have allowed a completion rate of 75% on passes to the short middle are of the field for an average gain of 7.38 yards. When they have been beat deep it has also been to the middle area of the field as they have allowed a 58.33% completion rate on balls thrown that direction for an average gain of 14.17 yards.