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Big Ben Not Holding Back Criticism of Teammates

It’s been 96 hours of built up frustration and chatter since Pittsburgh’s latest win streak came to an end last Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The most notable voice has been from Pittsburgh’s all-pro quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger took to radio today and emphasized that he “has a right” to be critical of his teammates.

“I would hope that they would understand that as the quarterback and the captain that I have the right to do those things,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t feel like I abuse that situation, so I don’t think it’s an issue.”

This is all stemming from the aftermath of the Denver loss. Roethlisberger publicly criticized all-pro wide receiver Antonio Brown and rookie wide receiver James Washington for their play last Sunday, along with some surprising remarks about offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and the offensive play calling selection throughout the game.

“Everybody has different ways to encourage guys or to get guys going,” Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said regarding the topic. “Maybe it’s his way of challenging guys, letting them know we’re not perfect as a team,” Steelers left guard Ramon Foster added.

The Steelers found themselves in multiple situations against Denver where they could have turned the game around, but turnovers played the ultimate role. Despite leading in time of possession, total plays and total passing yards, it was the four turnovers that seemed to come at the worst possible times for Pittsburgh. So who is actually to blame for the loss and the built up animosity the last few days within Pittsburgh’s locker room?

“Remember that Roethlisberger, two games removed from a perfect passer rating, completed 41 of 56 passes for 462 yards – only to have tight end Xavier Grimble fumble out of the end zone, Washington drop a pass in his hands and James Conner fumble deep in Denver territory. Maybe this is Big Ben’s way of saying that game should have never come down to the final play.” – Kevin Gorman, TribLIVE

I don’t believe Roethlisberger’s motives are malicious. I believe he’s taking this opportunity to motivate his teammates to get back on track against the red hot Los Angeles Chargers this upcoming Sunday night. Regardless, everyone (all players and coaches included) should be held accountable for their play as a team. That includes Big Ben as well. We’ll see what time up adjustments they make for this weekend.

“You listen,” Ramon Foster continued. “It resonates in a major way because he’s [Roethlisberger] the guy that controls where the ball goes.”

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