On Monday, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark said on NFL Live that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sees ghosts when under pressure against man-to-man coverages. On Wednesday, former Patriots linebacker turned ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi came to the defense of his former teammate and even suggested that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should perhaps start seeing more ghosts himself.
When Brusci was asked to give his reaction to Clarks\’ ghost remark, he let it rip.
“It\’s a defensive term,” started Bruschi. “Ryan\’s a safety and I\’m a linebacker, and he calls it seeing ghosts, but I call it protecting the franchise, because you want your quarterback every week to be there for you 16 weeks out of the regular season
“I\’ve seen Peyton Manning do it. I\’ve seen Eli Manning, those quarterbacks that know they\’re more important than this down, this particular down right now. So live to fight another day and get down and save the franchise.”
Bruschi at that point turned his attention to the often injured Roethlisberger in order to drive his point home.
“I\’ll talk about Ryan\’s quarterback Ben Roethlisberger,” continued Bruschi. “He\’s only played 16 games one time in his entire nine year career. He\’s missed eight games in the last three years. It\’s hard to win without your franchise quarterback and its taken me a little bit of time to realize this post retirement as an analyst.
“Quarterbacks must think differently than linebackers, than safeties. They must know that that position is of the utmost importance and they need to stay alive, and stay healthy, and be there through the entire regular season, and the entire postseason.
“That\’s the way I see it. So, he calls it seeing ghost, but I think a lot of fans of the Steelers, of the Washington Redskins, with Robert Griffin III, you would think that they would protect the franchise a little bit more regularly.
Now, Bruschi certainly makes a good point about the health of Roethlisberger, but holding onto the football and extending plays is what has made him so successful over the course of his career. A byproduct of that, unfortunately, along with of course inferior offensive line play, is that it has led to him taking quite a few sacks and missing games as a result.
Last season, the Steelers brought in new offensive coordinator Todd Haley with the hopes that his style of offense would lead to Roethlisberger taking less sacks and technically it did as Roethlisberger\’s 2.31 sacks taken per game average was the lowest that it has been since 2005, his second year in the league. Even still, it didn\’t prevent him from missing three games last season thanks to the sack he took in Week 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
So, is Bruschi right? Does Roethlisberger need to start seeing more ghosts, or perhaps does he just need a better running game and better pass protection instead?