Ben On Martavis’ First Game Against Patriots: ‘Maybe This Will Be A Coming Out Party For Him’

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the New England Patriots this coming Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field and that game will officially mark the first time that wide receiver Martavis Bryant has played against the AFC stalwart. During his Tuesday morning appearance on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked if he believes Bryant is ready for this opportunity on Sunday against the Patriots even though it looked like at times during the team’s most-recent game against the Baltimore Ravens that something didn’t seem quite right about the wide receiver.

“I do,” Roethlisberger said.

Because Roethlisberger somewhat side-stepped the initial question about Bryant, he was later asked during his interview if he senses that the wide receiver was locked in mentally, physically and emotionally Sunday night against the Ravens.

“Yeah, I felt like he was,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s hard for me to go back and remember, there was a lot of passes I threw. So it’s hard to go back and remember all the different plays, but I think we kind of got out early, he caught a couple early, he had at least one real big third down. I missed him on a couple of other ones. So, I just think it was one of those days that other guys maybe out-shown him, if you will, just because it just happened to be one of those days.”

Roethlisberger was more than likely asked about Bryant on Tuesday because of the reaction he had following an incompleted deep pass down the left side of the field to the wide receiver Sunday night against the Ravens. On that particular play, it appeared as though Bryant let up a little during his route and that he really didn’t fight hard to get on top of the Ravens cornerback who was covering him on the play.

After that pass dropped incomplete, it looked like Roethlisberger wasn’t very happy with the effort given by Bryant on the route. With that said, Roethlisberger could have been unhappy about something else that happened during that play. The optics, setting, and recent history, however, easly lead one to speculating that he wasn’t happy with Bryant.

That one play aside, Bryant did end up catching six passes against the Ravens for 33 yards on 10 total targets and that’s the most receptions he’s had in a single game this season. Additionally, Bryant is currently the Steelers primary kickoff returner and there’s been no indication that he’ll lose that role in Week 15 despite having a shaky performance Sunday night against the Ravens as a returner.

“We’ll keep working,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday during his weekly press conference when asked how he plans on going about helping Bryant improve at fielding kickoffs more cleanly. You guys wondered why you hadn’t seen him before recent weeks, now you know. We’ll keep working. It’s been a nice shot in our arm. It’s provided something else for other people to defend. It’s been a way of getting him the ball a little bit more. We’ll keep working and see where the road leads us.”

It sure would be nice to see Bryant have a big game against the Patriots and that very thing might ultimately be needed for the Steelers to win at home Sunday afternoon. One would think that the Patriots will do their best at not letting fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown kill them the way he killed the Ravens Sunday night. In short, Bryant should have quite few opportunities to make some plays during his first game against the Patriots.

“Maybe this will be a coming out party for him against a good team,” Roethlisberger said of Bryant.

  • Applebite

    Dave…
    It seems as if we’ve seen this movie before with Martavis, in Limas Sweed. Could it be possible that Bryant is having issues with depth perception? Has anyone ever asked this of Bryant? I remember Sweed as a college player, he was a great talent with the Horns. And then they discovered that he had astigmatism in his eyes. Along with the wrist problem coming out of college and the ACL later on, he was never the same player.

    They’ve always knew that Bryant had some drop issues coming out of college, so it just might be that he’s consistently inconsistent. I’m just really digging to figure out, why Martavis is having the issues with dropping long passes that should fall into his hands, compared to his first couple of seasons.

  • Alan Tman

    I don’t think Martavis is having problems with catching the ball. He is having problems releasing and separation from DB’s, which never was a problem for him in 2014 and 2015. He also is having difficulty with run after the catch too. I am a staunch MB10 supporter, but last game he couldn’t even stay on his feet. I hope the kid just had a bad day, but it is looking like he has lost confidence in his abilities. It sounds like they are including him in the game plan vs. the Pats, and I hope he delivers.

  • Brian Tollini

    I’d be content with a game where he didn’t look uncoordinated…my goodness where did all that talent go?

  • treeher

    Maybe we can actually have a good return without a penalty.

  • Charles Mullins

    “You guys wondered why you hadn’t seen him before recent weeks, now you know.” Yup. Still happy he is getting to the point where he is doing it on the field.

  • PittShawnC

    Maybe it will be 90 degrees and sunny tomorrow

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Butler and a safety double AB while Gilmore is matched up with Bryant. Rowe is their nickle CB so he’ll see JJSS most of the night. I think Bell and the TEs vs. McCourtey or Chung is the matchup to exploit. Since Hightower went down, they have played a safety at MLB.

  • The Tony

    Calling it now 100 yards 2 tds

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Alan –

    I’ve been seeing the same thing. It seems like in 2014 and 2015 he would constantly get 2-3 steps of separation on deep routes. I’m not sure if he’s a step slower now or CB’s are just learning how to cover him, but I haven’t seen him as open this year. Also once he catches the ball i don’t see him blazing away from tacklers unless he really gets to the open field (as opposed to traffic areas).

  • ThePointe

    Man would it be a shock to the Patriots system if Bryant took one back for a TD against that teams most stout unit, their kick coverage team.

  • gdeuce

    They will not have Bryant back there again, it will be JuJu returning kicks from here on out

  • Jones

    If he can’t make a contested catch, maybe he can go pull the fire alarm at the Pats hotel the night before to return a favor 🙂

  • gdeuce

    fire alarm pulls are reserved for the playoffs

  • gdeuce

    they also put an LB on that running back when they split him out wide and got burned multiple times

  • gdeuce

    his speed isn’t the problem, on that kick return that was nullified against the bengals it was timed as one of the fastest all year

  • Mark

    The real deal is that he doesn’t want to be here and is playing out the string in hopes that he will get traded next season, since we hold his rights. I’ve watched players that play at half speed just for the sake of it. He is that guy and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He doesn’t congratulate team members on big plays, doesn’t block effectively, and is seeking to avoid contact at all cost.

    He’s retired on the job! Sad but true, Hunter would give us more right now with taking the top off.

  • SfSteeler

    he catches the ball and then goes down like a tree/JJames and looks all elbows and knees out there

  • Mark

    Butler looks old and slow and the Pats have used him up to get to this point. Bell, TE’s, and JuJu should have a big game against Pats.

  • Mark

    I agree, Bryant was a train wreck on I-95

  • ThePointe

    You may be right, but listening to Tomlins comments doesn’t give anyone the impression the he’ll pull Bryant in favor of Juju.

  • cencalsteeler

    Heck of an athlete that seems to not like the physical part of football.

  • jsteeler

    Sad when people come on here and don’t know what the F— they’re talking about.

  • will

    Why is the NFL Network story that broke today not a topic on Steelers Depot?

  • FATCAT716

    What story

  • FATCAT716

    I like where Ben is as a leader. He will criticize but also encourage these guys

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Alan. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get 2 steps slower overnight, so why is he not seperaring AT ALL?! Maybe something off the field is affecting him(not drugs).

  • Ray Istenes

    I put Byrant and JuJu back.

  • will

    Ike Taylor, Marshall Faulk and Chris Hansen were suspended from NFL Network pending the investigation into sexual harassment allegations brought by a former NFL Network female employee. Allegations are gross……let’s see if they are true. President of NFL network also suspended.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I know alot of us were ready for this game with Bryant as the key. Now the key maybe just overpowering New England’s defense.

  • Ray Istenes

    Instead of a go route we don’t seem to give MB the slants routes that he seems built for. If he runs a slant and gets the CB on his hip it is game over with his speed.

    His hands have been fine on all of the short passes. I hate using him on WR screens.

    I am not sure Haley does all he can do to scheme him into open space.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    I went back and forth with a guy on here earlier this season about this very same topic. I think that added muscle he came back with is affecting his agility. Even on screens and slants he’s not as agile as before.

  • Alan Tman

    I called it for the game against the Ravens, so I hope you are right!!

  • Steelerman24752

    That’s what I saw too. Afraid of contact. Not running at full speed and right before contact he would do some stop and spin thing then fall down. I think Ben feels obligated to try and get him the ball but he needs to be done for the year. We are too close for this juvenile BS.

  • Iulo

    that’s the point… he is not more agile… on screens he was terrific; he could make a big play from nothing…. besides that, I also thing he has some mental problem… even if you compare his effort from first three games, now it looks totally different. That trade-drama and benching has played a role for him (because he looks to be mentally weak)

  • srdan

    Yeah it’s no coincidence he was shopped this offseason

  • Conserv_58

    There is no doubt in my mind that that expression on Ben’s face was precisely the result of Martavis doing what you described. There is no way that it was for any other reason because he was looking right at Martavis and shaking his head.

  • Don

    Not Chris Hansen. Heath Evans. This is a real bummer.

  • Michael Conrad

    I’m going to give MB a little slack. I think he is still rusty plus his speed has been straight line speed so he needs to improve in route running and going after the ball. Needs to improve his pass catching ability. I think he is going through a lot. Staying clean is very hard to do. His is value is just being on the field and a couple catches

    It’s AB , JU JU and MB .

    I think we can all see Rogers has very little to offer . Rogers could have a good game or two by default of double coverage elsewhere.

  • Conserv_58

    Since Martavis is a long strider and therefore a glider. He needs open space to build up his speed. Having him run routes that require rapid changes in direction do not compliment his running style. As a kick returner, Martavis can flat out fly, as long as he’s got enough room to get up to speed. If he has to quickly cut and juke defenders it’s over because he simply doesn’t have the quick twitch capability to be successful at it.

  • ATL96STEELER

    MB to my knowledge has never been able to adjust quickly on the ball in midflight, or make the contested catch very well.

    Maybe it was because Juju wasn’t playing but I saw several new routes that Bryant ran that were connected on. If his route tree stays that flexible I think his catch percentage goes up.

  • Alan Tman

    I think that they are making a mistake by going away from the deep plays with MB10. I want them to have to take that away to open up AB. They should just make him the guy who is off the line of scrimmage to keep DB’s from getting their hands on him.

  • Conserv_58

    IMO, Martavis and Sammy Coates have the same issues. They’re not aggressive, They’re passive-aggressive. They don’t fight for position on contested balls, they don’t adjust quickly and they have trouble tracking the ball once they’re running at speed. Martavis can be a bit lazy too because he has given up on routes too soon.

  • Conserv_58

    Martavis has to prove to be much more consistent for Haley and Ben to see that as being a viable option.

  • Intense Camel

    He used to have that ability though. He’s nowhere near as good with the ball in his hands as he was before the suspension. Do you remember the catch and run he had against the cardinals? Or the screen he took for a TD against the Raiders. He doesn’t even appear to be half that now. It’s like night and day.

  • Michael Conrad

    Sexual Harassment story. I’m not sure if it needs to be. Men are going to have to behave at work period.

  • Intense Camel

    I think he’s just frustrated. It’s very discouraging when your body no longer allows you to do the things you’ve been doing your whole life.

  • Intense Camel

    I’m surprised that more people haven’t mentioned this. He’s nowhere near the same player with the ball. I think everyone has forgotten just how dynamic he was.

  • Intense Camel

    He’s possibly one step slower but his agility is completely gone.

  • Conserv_58

    I agree completely.

    IMO, It has everything to do with his selfish attitude. He whined about not be appreciated and not getting the ball enough. He and his nasty girlfriend ask for him to be traded to a team that would appreciate his talents. The Steelers refused. Martavis knows that the Steelers own his rights through 2018 so in his mind he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. He’s resentful and thus he’s not motivated to regain what he once was. Again, that’s my opinion.

  • will

    Why is the NFL Network story that broke today not a topic on Steelers Depot?

  • Conserv_58

    I’ve got an issue with the sudden rash of sexual assault stories.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I felt like this last year in the playoffs and I think the same holds true now. This game for me on the offensive side of the ball comes down to Bell. We lost him in the playoffs and the gameplan changed. He must run the ball. Belicheat does one thing….removes one guy from the equation. He will triple team AB if he has too. JSS and Bryant and the TEs will need to play well, but Bell running well wins us this game on offense. Now, I have no idea what fixes are in store on defense, but that is another side of the ball.

  • NinjaMountie

    And what do you want to talk about? Another woman alleged some things and some men were suspended or fired. There, that covered it/

  • Intense Camel

    You’re reaching pretty hard here. What does his physical ability have to do with his attitude? He obviously isn’t capable of doing what he did before or else he would be doing it or at least showing flashes here and there. You think he’s tripping and falling all over the place on purpose? You think he wants to get pelted in the backfield? Stop it. He is the same player now that he was before the Twitter incident so I see no correlation. Besides, playing bad does nothing to help him get traded if that is his true intention.

  • Alan Tman

    Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you think. It only matters what the defense thinks.

  • will

    But one was a retired Steeler. That is news for Steeler Nation

  • will

    Wow!!!!!!

  • will

    Sorry…my bad.

  • will

    Assume you do not have a daughter.

  • NinjaMountie

    Meh. I suppose. I’m kinda glad they haven’t though. I’m a bit tired of it to be honest.

  • pittfan

    +1,000.

  • ATL96STEELER

    You definitely need to keep feeding him the deep ball…right now there is no real reason to double him though because he’s not really doing much damage vs one on one coverage.

  • thegoodzz

    bryant is the key to losing at this point, a healthy ben, brown and bell is the key to winning

  • thegoodzz

    Hes not the same player though, he got bigger and therefore less agile. Cant cut to save his life

  • Intense Camel

    Yea, that’s what I’m saying.

  • Joseph Nerges

    The shock maybe be on the Steelers sideline if MB fumbles the kick off to the Patriots. That’s more likely than having MB taking the kick off back for a a TD.

  • HiVul

    No you’re right and I didn’t know about it until I read your comment. I’d suspect a story here will come soon

  • Balok’s Plight

    Every time Ben throws it to 10 the camera pans to Ben’s reaction, usually not a good one. But yeah he is leading this year, I like it

  • Balok’s Plight

    He does seem to be going through the motions

  • Michael Conrad

    Not sure where you are going. l said Men need to behave. This is a Steeler site not for talk on SH is what I was saying.

  • Ni mo

    Shopped off and he will be a free agent 😂😂

  • Ni mo

    He doesn’t want to pay for the Steelers

  • Ni mo

    Yeah he was also high at those times

  • Ni mo

    Rusty but josh Gordon missed 3 years and looking like his old self

  • Ni mo

    But they double him over the top a lot

  • Ni mo

    He’s very lazy

  • Ni mo

    He’s a waste should have traded him when he asked , he’s just there occupying a space . Not even trying to catch or run . I guess he moss the weed

  • will

    Ok. I misunderstood. Agree with you

  • Intense Camel

    Has nothing to do with physical ability.

  • Mutatedgenome

    Don’t count on it. He is as stiff as a sawhorse and goes down with ankle tackles. He’s weak. Hell even Nix has more combat catches than he does. Get what you can out of him now and ship his ass this offseason.

  • cencalsteeler

    We’ll, if he’s putting tape out there for other teams to see, he’s certainly not helping himself much.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Gotta think the Patriots will double AB almost every down – another receiver will need to step up.

    That said, I do not believe we will see much more from Bryant this season.
    He’s running hard and blocking but the guy who averaged 22 yds/reception isn’t this guy. He just isn’t.

    If Bell is healthy, you’ve got to think he’s looking for some time with this Patriot defense, since he missed them last year for the most part.

    Also, can I get a holla for a young man who seems to just show up and play big in big games – JJSS?! He’s coming to play too.

    Hopefully.. the Steelers come out in no-huddle and score first.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    What if he takes away Bell instead of AB?

  • Lil Smitty

    Many corners are turning and running before MB gets within ten yards of them. If MB keeps catching slants and out routes on those corners they will eventually need to stop jumping his deep routes. then he can go deep on them.

  • 2winz

    You’re basing that off of what? He showed that he has the ability to take it to the house already, if it were not for a really flukey call by the refs. I have not seen him fumble though. Against the Ravens, there was that weird kick that instead of going into the endzone it bounced towards the field.. it was just awkward, but aside from that, there was not a return where once he caught it, the ball was jarred loose.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    And THAT is the reason why i think the Steelers will beat the Patriots this week.

    Bellichek cannot take away Brown AND Bell. And the bigger threat is Bell because if he gets rolling he will keep Brady off the field.

    If they bring a safety into the box (for Bell) and double Brown with the other safety, we will SHRED them with Ju Ju and Bryant.

    I actually hope they double Brown. That gives Ben a very simple formula to control the ball.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Bryant/juju is gonna explode this game we will win and the defense will improve just tying to figure things out without #50 might not be this wk but they will get use to playing with each other

  • Willoughby Spitt

    ‘Tay ‘Tay looked Hella Mega Lethargic the entire last game. He looked like he didn’t care & wasn’t really trying. And for Christ’s sakes, PLEASE take him OFF of the punt return team as the main returner. He looked like a newborn baby giraffe returning punts against the ratbirds.

  • Applebite

    The sick accusations made against Ike Taylor, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp, etc…?Just wait for the truth to come out. And if shes proven to be a liar, I hope everyone she’s accused of sexual misconduct, actually break her financially and emotionally. Her accusations are grotesquely detailed, and would easily damage somebody’s image regardless of of being true or not.

  • Dan

    You’re not the only one.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Idk about a lot, but that is part of your job as a deep threat…draw the FS…if he

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I’m not as confident as you in this regard.

    Clearly, the game plan likely changed when Bell went out of the game, and it was early.. in the SB.. but it’s not like he was shredding them and then it changed when he went out.

    The Pats will have more of a game plan than just “everyone cover 26”, right. And maybe the reason they looked so flat is because they were spending some extra time prepping for Pittsburgh?

    Ben playing better lately gives me the most hope. Our defensive backfield troubles and poor tackling make me feel like the Steelers are going to have to play a hell of a game to win.

    Unless.. there suddenly appeared a monster on defense who lit up 12 all day.

  • ATL96STEELER

    As a deep threat that is part of your job imo…occupy the FS. If he starts to catch a few more of these deep shots, he won’t have to worry about targets.

  • NCSteel

    Ben wil look to Ju Ju and even Eli
    ( who seems to be heating up ) in the slot rather than going deep on the outside to Bryant. That shi”p” ( wrong last letter, should have been a “t”, ) has sailed right down the Susquehanna.
    The only way he throws more than one deep to him is if he feels like he wants to throw an incomplete pass.
    I thought we were getting the second coming if Randy Moss, not Limas Sweed.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Last year when we played the Patriots in the regular season, Ben was out with an injury, the Patriots knew we’d be feeding the ball to Bell, and they stacked the box to “take away our best player.”

    Do you remember what happened?

    Bell had 21 carries for 81 yards, and 10 receptions for 68 yards. And they KNEW what was coming. And that was with Landry Jones at QB, and our only real weapon at WR was Antonio Brown.

    This year we have Big Ben + Martavis Bryant back + JuJu Smith playing lights out + LeVeon Bell relatively healthy. And the Pats defense is getting no pass rush and very average ILB play with Collins traded, Hightower on IR, and Van Noy hobbled.

    I was at the AFCCG in January, and I can attest that Bell was gimpy from the very first snap. You will see a very different Steelers offense this week.

  • Alan Tman

    That’s exactly why they need to run comebacks to him.

  • mezzetin1

    Don’t remember Sweed with a bunch of touchdowns.

  • mezzetin1

    Take it!

  • mezzetin1

    Good stuff. Or short circuit their headsets…

  • mezzetin1

    This ain’t the national enquirer. Or sports illustrated..