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Ben Roethlisberger: “We still have a long way to go…”

Steeler Nation

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It is interesting to see how attitudes change after a win compared to three straight losses.

After a solid victory in Week 1, the Pittsburgh Steelers dropped the following three games, only to bounce back in a big way in the form of a 27-19 win against the Denver Broncos in Week 5. After three weeks of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger repeating himself to the media saying, “I need to do better,”We need to execute plays on offense, and “It starts with me,” the quarterback’s attitude was a bit different this go-around. After coming off his statistically best game of the season finishing with a 120.9 quarterback rating, Roethlisberger explained there is still a long way to go in developing the offense. When asked about the offensive performance on Sunday and offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s challenge to them, Roethlisberger replied:

“…coach Canada said ‘we challenged you guys,’ said a couple of names specifically, ‘challenged you and you stepped up, and now the key is not to take step back. We know what you can do and now you just have to keep doing that’.”



On Sunday, we saw JuJu Smith-Schuster leave the game with a dislocated shoulder and we ultimately learned he will miss the remainder of the season. Roethlisberger knows how critical Smith-Schuster is to the offense, but is optimistic other players will embrace the “next man up” mentality:

“You can’t replace JuJu,” Roethlisberger proclaimed. “It’s awful… I’ll speak selfishly, I’m hurt. I miss that guy, what he brings to this team, his energy, his excitement, the leadership. It sucks. It really does. And I’m not the one hurt. I spoke to him on Sunday night, and I felt his pain through the phone, speaking to his mom as well.”






There is no clear replacement for what Smith-Schuster brings to the offense, but that doesn’t mean other guys won’t step up. Roethlisberger explained:

“Lots of big opportunities for Ray-Ray (McCLoud), for James (Washington). Cody (White) is going to get his shot I’m sure,” he said. “We need guys, because it seems like every week one of the guys have been down for something. Moving forward now without JuJu, we’re going to need everyone to be healthy as much as they can be every week. I think James is excited for the opportunity. I think Ray-Ray is as well.” Roethlisberger concluded, “We’re going to have to utilize a lot of people.”



When Roethlisberger said, “We’re going to have to utilize a lot more people” in Smith-Schuster’s absence, he wasn’t just talking about other wide receivers. Tight end Pat Freiermuth is still growing inside the offense and has shown he can be that reliable tight end all quarterbacks love. When asked about Freiermuth’s development, Roethlisberger explained:

“I think he’s doing a really good job and I probably have to be better of getting him involved more, because I trust him, he’s always in the right spot, I think he had a couple of big third down conversion catches last week. So it’s on me to get him involved and I need to make a more conscious effort to do that.”

Against the Broncos, the Steelers’ rush attack took a major step forward. Najee Harris had his first career 100-yard rushing game and averaged over 5 yards per carry on his 23 attempts. Harris also scored his third touchdown of the season. When asked about Harris’ development through the first quarter of the season, Roethlisberger explained:

“He’s got the total package. I think it’s just now getting comfortable, getting used to playing in the NFL. I think you’ve seen steps every week. You know last week was his first 100 (total) yard game, and catch the ball out of the backfield, and understanding kind of what it takes in the NFL. I joke with him and I’ve probably said to you guys, that college was probably easy a lot of the time, you know playing on a semi-pro team in college, it’s different. So to come to the NFL after having so much success in college and understanding that it’s not always going to be that easy, takes some getting used to and I think he’s getting that.”






There has been an obvious uptick in offensive production in the past few weeks. The offense has now scored on their first drive in the last two games, which is something they recognized after the Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Roethlisberger was asked about how he feels about the improvements on offense. He replied:

“Listen, we’re not, by no means going to sit here and say ‘oh we’re fixed, we’re this great offense,’ we’re not there yet. Just like last week after a loss, I’m not going to sit here and dwell on the losses and where we’re bad; after winning I’m not going to say ‘this is all the good things we’re doing’. We still have a long way to go and we’ve got a really talented defense here this week.”



The Steelers are set to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in their first prime time action this season. Stay tuned throughout the week for practice updates!



What are you looking forward to in practice this week? Who do you see making up for JuJu’s absence? Let us know in the comments below!

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