During the bye week, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark ran off to ESPN to explain the team’s 0-4 start and work on his analyst skills on First Take. During the segment, Clark gave his thoughts on several topics and it included the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Sometimes you have to protect Ben against Ben,” said Clark. “He’s a guy that’s great at improv, extending plays, making plays with his legs, letting receivers scramble, do the scramble drill, and hit them deep or hit them across the middle, allowing them catch and runs.
“So right now, we have to kind of tone Ben down in a sense and say, hey, right now we’re not a good enough team for you to try to extend plays, for us to take sacks, or for us to have turnovers.”
As soon as I heard those comments and wrote about them, I had a feeling that we hadn’t heard the last of them. Wednesday, Roethlisberger was asked if he had heard Clarks’ thoughts on his style of play.
“I didn’t hear about it,” said Roethlisberger. “It is what it is. I’m just going to play the game the way that I play it and try not to turn it over.”
When asked if he appreciated a teammate making comments like that, Roethlisberger took the high road.
“That’s the great thing about this country we live in. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and allowed to say what they want. If Ryan feels that way, then that’s fine,” he said.
Clark tried to clarify his comments Wednesday by saying they were misunderstood.
“When you articulate very well, and are well thought out in what you say and make a lot of sense, sometimes people try to twist it into something else,” Clark said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “When I say things, it’s going to be black and white. There’s no need to try to make it into anything else or make it like I’m talking (badly) about Ben.”
Roethlisberger and Clark are both team captains, but clearly one has the role down better than the other one. Clark plays on defense and if he wants to give constructive criticism about players on that side of the ball, I don’t have a problem with that. However, when he makes comments about the play of the offense, in my opinion, he his stepping over the line as a captain. At 0-4, these are certainly not the kind of things a team needs happening as it creates a divided locker room.
I am glad that Roethlisberger took the high road and he is certainly a better man than I am. Being as he won’t say it, I will. Ryan, you need to tone up your tackling because right now the team is not good enough to overcome you missing any more of them. How’s that for black and white?