On Wednesday before practice, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger met with the media to discuss the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers and his preparation heading into Week 5. It seems as though Roethlisberger’s press conferences tend to take on the persona of a shampoo commercial; rinse (“It starts with me” and “I need to play better”), lather (“We need to execute plays on offense” and “I won’t make any excuses”), repeat.
Head coach Mike Tomlin mentioned Roethlisberger’s new hip injury in his Tuesday press conference. Naturally, this was one of the first questions Roethlisberger addressed:
“It’s pretty sore. It’s just something we’ve all got to deal with when we play this game of football,” he explained. “I’m not going to make excuses, but as a quarterback there’s so much involved in your lower body. People probably think as a quarterback or as a thrower it’s how’s your arm doing. Your arm is a small part compared to the whole package, just your core, your lower body.”
Roethlisberger missed some relatively open and routine throws we’ve seen him make in past years — specifically, two open JuJu Smith-Schuster touchdowns which would’ve changed the course of the game. After completing 26 out of 40 passes for 232 yards last week against the Packers, Roethlisberger admitted his mechanics were off on some throws:
“I’ve got to find ways to be better with my lower body, going back and watching the game. A lot of the throws that I missed were missed because my lower body wasn’t in sync. Over striding, not stepping towards my target. Things that mechanically I know I can fix and need to fix. Obviously when you’re dealing with pain it’s harder to get through those things, but nothing I can’t get through and I’ll work to get through”, he said. “I think there is some compensating that happens when you can’t drive into a throw, but once again I’m not going to make excuses. I’ve been doing this a long time, played through lower body injuries before so that’s things I need to get better with.”
Steelers fans know it is natural for Roethlisberger to shoulder the blame for poor offensive performance and to praise the entire unit when they perform well. This is something fans have loved about him and praised him for the past several years. However, after repeating himself every week since November of last year, these seems to be a façade. I’m no expert in body language, but watching Roethlisberger answer the media’s questions today took on almost a, “I’m not telling you anything and you can’t make me” attitude. This may be due to the fact that most of the Week 4 postgame commentary surrounded the potential love affair between coach Tomlin and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was almost as if a significant other was seen flirting with a different person amidst of a break-up. Needless to say, there are now more questions than answers at the quarterback position in Pittsburgh.
Sitting at 1-3, there is speculation as to who we can see start at quarterback should the offense still continue to fail under Roethlisberger. When asked about this potential controversy after the first four weeks, Roethlisberger replied:
“I know that I can play better football,” proclaimed Roethlisberger. “I believe in myself. I know that no matter what’s going on, I’m going to fight my butt off to get a win. If that’s the way that I need to lead right now by showing these guys that I’m going to do everything I can to win a football game, then I’ll keep doing that.”
In regards to any panic or concern setting in the locker room, Roethlisberger concluded with:
“We’re not going to panic. We’re just going to get ready for a challenge this week.”
Do you think the Steelers should hit the panic button at quarterback? Who do you want to see start behind center? Let us know in the comments!