Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently sat down for an interview with the WDVE Morning Show to talk about the development of the roster, of reminiscences about when he was a young member of the team, and about the development of some of the younger players into leaders on the offensive side of the ball.
The offense lost some key components at wide receiver from a year ago, and also added new position coaches at running back and offensive line. Roethlisberger was asked if he felt that the front office managed to give him all the pieces that he needed to be successful this year. “So far, so good”, he said. “I like what we have, and if we stay healthy I think we can be pretty good”.
A bit later on, Roethlisberger talked about a conversation that he had with Troy Polamalu about their early days with the team, and how it was the most recent draft classes, combined with the core veterans already on the team, that finally managed to push the Steelers back over the hump to become Super Bowl champions. He is now one of those veterans, and he’s starting to see the potential in this young group to possibly have a similar impact:
We had such a good older class—Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Alan Faneca, Marvel Smith, Jerome Bettis. My class and Troy’s class, and even the class behind with Heath Miller, those guys, our young group had just enough talent and not knowing what was going on, and the old guys had enough of that knowledge and veteran [experience], that we just kind of molded into one pretty special team. And I think that we’ve got the beginnings and the capability of that now. We’ve got the young guys coming in, the rookies obviously, and then the second- and third-year guys, even Pouncey, he’s been here for a while but, he’s still a younger guy. We have a good feeling that this young group can kind of mold with the few older guys we have left to do something special.
Some of those young guys, such as Maurkice Pouncey, however, already have had significant experience, and are becoming leaders on this team. Antonio Brown, like Pouncey, has made it to the All-Pro team already, and both are still young. Roethlisberger talked about Brown’s maturation and development into the leader of the wide receiver group.
I’ve seen the growth and maturity from him. He hasn’t fought anybody yet. He’s growing up there. Him and Ike get into it every day in one-on-ones, that’s a very physical battle, and it’s great to see because it’s good for both of them. So you see the growth from him in that area, and then just being able to talk. If I have an issue with something he’s doing I’ll come up and talk to him, same thing vice versa, he’ll come talk to me, and it’s been really good so far.
Another one of those key young players is second-year running back Le’Veon Bell, and even though he is one of the younger backs at just 22 years old, he too is steadily maturing and becoming a leader of sorts in his own respective group.
“I think that he has just grown and matured so much. Even the little things, like pop quizzes with the running backs and tight ends and wide receivers where we do no-huddle hand signals. He’s picking up on the things and he knows them, and he’s helping the others guys”.
Roethlisberger feigned ignorance at first when the topic of Emmanuel Sanders’ comments were brought up, but in the end he was understanding of his former wideout’s position. “It’s the hand that feeds him”, he explained. “He’s going to pump up his guy. It is what it is”.
“As long as my guys don’t feel that way, which I don’t think any of them do, then we’re good.”