Prior to suffering injuries to his rib and shoulder in the Week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs last season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was on pace to throw for 4,066 yards and 30 touchdowns. While those injuries might have only cost him three games in total, it was clear that he wasn\'t the same quarterback once he returned.
Now, roughly five and half months removed from the injury that derailed the Steelers 2012 season, Roethlisberger appears to be fully recovered and ready for 2013.
"The biggest factor is that there have been no setbacks," said Roethlisberger, via a report by Jarrett Bell of USA Today. "I don\'t feel it when I throw. Obviously, any time you get hit you can hurt yourself. But I think everything is good to go."
According to Bell\'s report, Roethlisberger said that his throwing arm is stronger, and that he also started working out in the offseason earlier than normal this year, once he was cleared medically. As the Steelers head into their second OTA session of the 2013 season, this is certainly great news.
Now that his health no longer appears to be a concern, Roethlisberger\'s main focus will be to implement the changes that are being made to the offense of Todd Haley, who is entering his second season as the Steelers offensive coordinator.
"We\'ve thrown out all the stuff that we didn\'t like, that didn\'t work," Roethlisberger said. "We\'ve kept the good stuff and even added some things. Normally, at this point in my career, OTAs are boring. But this has been good. I\'m still learning this stuff."
Last week, during the Steelers first set of OTA practices of the 2013 season, Roethlisberger was asked if he feels different heading into his second year in the offense.
"Yeah, a little bit. There’s a little more comfort," said Roethlisberger. "There has been some changes this offseason in some of the offensive philosophies, playbook and some things that I think are good. It’s some compromise from all different position coaches, running back coaches, line, and quarterback coaches. I think we’ve taken a little bit of everything and made it a lot better. You can ask anybody on offense that, including coaches, and they’ll tell you that we all like the way the offense is and where it’s going."
Although he hasn\'t had much to say so far this offseason, Roethlisberger has said all the right things when he has talked to the media. There have been no references to the Haley offense being a "dink and dunk" one and all the veiled shots seem to have been replaced with positive outlook remarks.
At 31 years of age now, Roethlisberger has matured, and it\'s good to see that he is not only healthy, but working with Haley to make the offense better. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off at prior to getting injured last season and make yet another deep run at what would be his third championship in Pittsburgh.