Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger held his weekly press conference with the media before practice on Wednesday morning. Roethlisberger is coming off a mediocre performance in Week 1 against a very good Buffalo Bills defense which featured 18 completions on 32 attempts for 188 yards and a touchdown. With this being Roethlisberger’s first game back after a “normal” off-season (one that didn’t include major surgery rehab), the first question he fielded was naturally about his body, elbow, and how he felt after the Week 1 23-16 victory:
“Sore. Like I anticipated; after you don’t get hit for a while, there’s a lot more bumps and bruises than usual,” Roethlisberger explained. In regards to his surgically-repaired elbow from a year ago, “It feels great. It’s probably the only part of my body that didn’t hurt coming out of the game so that’s encouraging and positive,” he said.
The game in Buffalo seemed to be a tale of two halves. The first half appeared to be a fairly lethargic offensive showing and they looked like they had trouble finding their footing starting the game. But once the second half kicked off, the offense found a rhythm and was able to put points on the board. Roethlisberger explained that there were some jitters from everyone early on, himself included, and that he missed some throws he doesn’t like to miss. However, he went onto say that, “…as the game progressed, we were able to settle down a bit and make some things happen.”
One big part of the second half offensive success was the wide receiving corps. We saw plays from almost every receiver that were worthy of their own highlight. When Roethlisberger was asked about his thoughts on what played out, he explained:
“…each guy did something a little extra special in that game. JuJu [Smith-Schuster] was JuJu; he’s tough, he’s reliable, he does what you ask him to do.” He went on to say that, “I think Diontae [Johnson] started the game out really well, got his knee banged up really bad and I’m not sure if the old Diontae would’ve come back in the game and continued making plays for us. I think that showed a lot of growth. James Washington coming in the game right away and catches a ball on a screen and gets north and gets us big yards. And I thought Chase [Claypool] played like a grown man. I mean some of his catches down the field, it’s either a catch or a penalty.”
Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin made mention of the young receivers’ maturation earlier this week and Roethlisberger echoed those thoughts.
“If any of those guys would’ve been ‘pouting’ or ‘shut it down’ because they were upset because they weren’t getting the ball, we wouldn’t have been able to be successful on that [game sealing] drive. Instead, we took up however many minutes, we took the ball down the field, we kick a field goal, and each guy contributed on that drive. So, to me, that shows the growth and maturity of these guys that early on it wasn’t going well, but they didn’t let it bother them. They were still there at the end of the game and when it mattered the most, they made the plays. So to me, that’s a long-winded of how they’ve grown a lot.”
Looking forward to this week’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, Roethlisberger talked about his early thoughts on the Las Vegas defense and if anything surprised him in his preparation. When asked about Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby, Roethlisberger said:
“Nothing surprises me because he’s from the MAC; that’s where all the good football players come from. He’s a stud, I mean if you watch what he did. That whole defense; their pass rush… they don’t do a lot of blitzes, they’re not doing a lot of crazy things, they’re just rushing four guys, and their four rushers are really good.”
Roethlisberger also highlighted the Raiders’ secondary in saying that they like to ball-search and take the ball away from the offense when they need to.
Finally, Roethlisberger was asked about what it takes for a team to go from being “good” to being “great”. His response was simple:
“Time, I think. I think you got to have time. You can’t just go from good to great. You have to put the time in and only time will tell if you can be a great football team.”
Watch the full presser here:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 15, 2021
What are your thoughts on this week’s matchup against the Raiders? What are you looking for in this week’s preparation? Let us know in the comments below!