Roethlisberger on Bryant: ‘I Think He’s Going To Have A Great Second Half’

After benching wide receiver Martavis Bryant for the Sunday night game against the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin let it be known during his post-game press conference that he wasn’t confident that the seemingly disgruntled player would be able to help the team during the second half of the regular season. On Tuesday, however, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave a much more optimistic opinion of Bryant with the team currently in the midst of their bye week during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan.

“Absolutely I am,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he’s confident that Bryant can help the team during the second half of the season.

With Bryant sidelined Sunday night due to him being punished for a social media outburst following the Steelers week 7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had a great game as this year’s second-round draft pick out of USC caught 7 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown, which just so happens to now be the longest scoring pass play in the history of the franchise. Because of Smith-Schuster’s great Sunday night showing, Roethlisberger was asked Wednesday if he thinks Bryant will now be even more motivated to become a better player after having to stand on the sideline and watch the rookie compile the stats that he did against the Lions.

“Potentially,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s all about how Martavis wants to take it. Does he want to say that, ‘Ok, JuJu had a great game.’ Now, I will say this, too, a lot of JuJu’s catches didn’t necessarily come at Martavis’ position. You know, like JuJu, even when Martavis is playing, JuJu works inside a lot, too. So, some of his plays, the one, the big touchdown, that was not Martavis’ position.

“You know certain things, so, we can’t sit here and say, ‘Ok, look what he did and Martavis didn’t do,’ because he was catching balls at different positions. So, it’s not quite the same, but it’s really about how Martavis wants to take it. Does he want to sit here and say, ‘Ok, he had a big game, let me step my game up’, or does he want to say, ‘He had a big game but it wasn’t kind of at my position, he didn’t make the catches I would have.’? It’s really all about how he wants to take it.”

Even though Bryant wasn’t allowed to participate in the game against the Lions, Roethlisberger made it clear on Wednesday that the wide receiver still seemed to be involved and invested in the contest while standing on the sideline watching the action.

“I thought he had a great attitude,” Roethlisberger said. “I thought he was very encouraging to guys, it wasn’t like he was just standing on his own and kind of pouting, or whatever. I felt like he was high-fiving guys, he was celebrating when we scored, he seemed really into the game and I thought that was encouraging.”

Roethlisberger went on to say that he has talked to Bryant since Sunday’s win over the Lions and he asked the wide receiver if he had yet to breakdown the tape of the game. He indicated that he and Bryant both discussed some of the things that fellow Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter did against the Lions.

“He was very engaging, very in to it and so, I’m really excited to come off the bye week and kind of see what Martavis is going to be bringing to us,” Roethlisberger said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Bryant is expected to be back in uniform and playing again after the team’s bye week and that’s not overly surprising. Now that this year’s trade deadline has passed, Bryant can now focus on having a much better second half of the season than his first half and Roethlisberger expects that to be the case.

“I’m excited, I think he’s going to have a great second half, I mean, I need to have a great second half, so, if we both have great second halves, I think we can be a successful offense,” Roethlisberger said.

  • The Chin

    Amen

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Yes, Roethlisberger needs to say it like this: Martavis Bryant is going to have a great 2nd half of the season because I’M GOING TO HAVE a great second half because I’m going to play better and get him the ball especially in the red zone.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    To get Bryant his numbers, the QB must improve. But to improve Roethlisberger, a few things have to happen. First of all, Haley et al, need to realize that Roethlisberger is is good at he’s ever going to get in the pocket. He’s never going to be a classic pocket passer. They’ve already got out of him the most I ever get from the pocket. They’ve achieved what they set out to achieve a few years ago by revamping his game. They’ve conditioned him to stop holding the ball too long, over ad-libbing, excessive schoolyard style play, and taking too many hits. All those goals successful. Now it’s time to turn Roethlisberger loose and let him do what’s most natural and most comfortable in order to get him into the flow of the game faster and earlier and games in order to settle him down and calm his nerves. So you let him do a little of what he likes to do which is get outside of the pocket and get on the edge and make plays a little bit more often and use his feet. Let him do this some certainly not always. Just a little when necessary especially in a up-tempo hurry up offense. That will get him going and it will get Bryant going as he will get the ball.

  • francesco

    I’m glad Ben recognized that MB and JuJu play different positions. This was a very positive start. But I’m wondering if they (MB Ben and ABurns) cannot go somewhere together and practice?!
    All three of them need the reps.

  • Charles Mullins

    Need a Good Cop and a Bad Cop. Well played.

  • Rotten Sircus

    (Fingers Crossed) if Martavis gets going it’s on to the Superbowl !!!

  • Steve Johnson

    It was great see #7 be optimistic about him. I think Bryant needed to hear that.

  • Joseph Nerges

    There is only one football and right now I’d be inclined to not include MB in many planed calls. Now if he gets open when Brown and JuJu are covered then that’s a different story. My question however is who do you take out of the lineup to be replaced by MB?

  • ryan72384

    I wish our base offense was AB and Martavis outside. JuJu in the slot. 5 linemen. Ben Bell and Rosie. Run or pass option. You want to run you have Rosie leading the way. On passing downs Bell can chip or pick up a blitz and then go out and break a linebackers ankles. Just keep defenses spread out. Our run formations are so predictable. 2 tight ends and Nix. Wonder what’s coming?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I.e. add Martavis Bryant to your fantasy squad.

  • SeventhHeavan

    Very predictable. Haley is always running Bell off the shotgun. Hate that. He’s much more effective out of the eye or Ben from center.

  • Ralph Wagner

    Tell Martavis Bryant to put away his short arms and reach or dive for the football. His job is to make Ben look good. LOL

    If he wants to play, he had better start playing.

    Go Steelers

  • Steel Realist PAul

    While I’m not sure why it hasn’t worked so far, exactly, something is just……..different in the timing between Ben and Bryant. Recall, Ben started hitting Bryant on deep passes early in Bryant’s rookie season, and only injuries and suspensions slowed it down.

    While Ben did throw it deep a couple of times that should have seen Bryant receive, I just don’t know if ‘how it used to be’ is a real option at this point.

    It’s on both of them, to be sure. But.. Bryant used to be amazing in the screen game; like Really good! Similar touches for him this year show him looking like he’s having a hard time with initial steps

  • francesco

    You are right on. These men should be on the field 90% of the time. As well JuJu can block as a TE would.

  • ryan72384

    Exactly the runs out of the shotgun always look so slow to develop. With Ben under center and Rosie and Bell behind him it could be run or pass especially if you just leave your 3 best receivers on the field. These 2 tight end formations with 1 reciever drive me insane. We literally cannot pass from those formations and defenses know that. McDonald can’t catch and Jessie can’t block. In my opinion that means leave the tight ends on the bench and put your playmakers on the field

  • ryan72384

    Yep JuJu can play like a tight end. The kid is a beast. He blocks viciously and can catch and he will always get favorable matchups when he’s on the field with AB and Martavis. And of course Bell is a safety valve out of the backfield. I just don’t understand why Haley continues to handcuff this offense with his 2 tight end formations and taking the playmakers off the field. Yes Ben has not been very good but Haley has been bad.

  • Mike Lloyd

    I feel like Ben should be picking up Martavis in his VW bus for the bye week drive straight to Bethel NY out to Max Yasgur’s farm…all this love…ahhh it’s beautiful. ✌️

  • Mark

    Yes, that line up would force a LB off the field and Nix leading the way up the middle with a guard pulling would be devastating. Bring a safety in the box and we pass all day long.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Ha, I actually stared at him on the waiver wire for a bit today. I don’t think it’s out of the question that he bounces back the second half of the season. Fact is, he was always too inconsistent and big-play/td dependent to be a great Fantasy player anyway.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Uhhh…FB or #2 TE? Not terribly difficult. They run a lot of 3WR sets.

  • Hec

    Ben is the variable, Martavis is the coefficient of that variation. Both gotta find a median, and not deviate from that standard.

  • Brandon Watson

    You must have lil ones like me, thus spending lots of time helping with math homework and the like. lol. Either way, love the analogy and I agree with the formula and theory behind it, so much that it’s not theory but fact

  • rayster

    I think Tomlin and Haley have a strong fatherly talk with Bryant, then Ben has a stern brotherly talk with him. Then all encourage Martavis, exchange bro hugs, you know, “Boo-hoo-hoo!”
    Then, the Steelers play Bryant the whole second half, and run his wheels off.

  • walter

    No reason for MB to be jealous or to worry that he wont “get mine”. They play different positions. Be excited to be on a winning team. Just ask Joe Haden.

  • Applebite

    If Haley gets Bryant out in space, everything will correct itself. Use Rogers on the bubble screens….

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    For me, it’s all about that red zone. I want WHOEVER they can put in & help in the red zone. So, it’s amazing Bryant isn’t used more in RZ.

  • francesco

    Redzone from the 20 yard line is different than if you are the 10 yard line and closer in. If at the 20 i can see MB being a valuable target on the field. If at the 10 i think i would prefer a tall TE or two.
    Also you need to have some pick plays that are quasi legal. Pats do that all the time and get away with it.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Believe me when you have a 40 inch vertical on a wide receiver like Martavis Bryant has you want that man as close to the goal line or working in the end zone as much as possible. He is a coverage nightmare he can’t be covered physically. So you match him up against an undersized DB in the end zone and watch him out jump the defender all day long. That is assuming the quarterback is accurate enough to put the ball on him. Which Roethlisberger’s accuracy is Highly Questionable. I mean Highly Questionable!!!

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Yeah scheme. Pick plays wouldn’t hurt. Yes I agree. But also height never hurts especially if the man can jump. And Bryant can definitely jump, and he’s 6-foot 4, 220 lb quick as a cat for a man his size. Watch him post up Dbs. I’ll take that matchup in a heartbeat.

  • francesco

    Well that has been the issue with Ben…not too accurate and play calling by Haley in the redzone. Hoping Ben comes around on second half.

  • John Pennington

    Just glad Ben and MB talked maybe that was all they needed to do to get on the same page