PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan for the “#1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show,” which airs every Tuesday at 11 a.m. during the season.
The Steelers are coming off a stunning come-from-behind 25-13 win led by third string quarterback and the latest Pittsburgh sports hero, Landry Jones. Jones led the Steelers on four scoring drives, including two touchdowns to receiver Martavis Bryant.
But, will he get a chance to make his first NFL start on Sunday in Kansas City?
Roethlisberger talked about how the practice repetitions will go this week between he and Jones.
“That’s kind of the coaches’ job,” Roethlisberger said. “A lot of it determines too how I feel early in practice. I would assume that Landry and I will kind of split the first reps with the first period and if it feels good in the first period, we’ll probably continue that way. If for some reason it doesn’t feel quite right or if I don’t feel 100 percent about it, then I don’t want to just be out there taking reps away from Landry just because. He’s going to need to get all the reps he can. So, it’s going to be a feeling out process, but I’ll leave that up to the coaches to decide kind of how they’re going to split reps up.”
Roethlisberger elaborated on what he’d need to see from himself in order to feel confident enough in his leg to get back on the field.
“It’s going to have to be a feel thing, a comfort level,” Roethlisberger said. “Can I make moves in the pocket? Does it hurt when I drop back from under center? Does it hurt when I roll out to the left, to the right? Sliding up in the pocket after a deep-set off a play-action fake. Just things like that because obviously, I threw last week and it felt good throwing, so that part we can check that box off and we’ll just continue, when I go out there kind of as practice progresses, see what I can and can’t do.”
Given that it sounds like Ben is getting closer to getting back on the field, he was asked how close to 100 percent he is right now.
“Not 100,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s too hard to put a percentage on where I am right now because as I sit here right now talking to you guys in a chair, I feel great, I feel 100 percent. But, I don’t know anything until I go out and try to do football related movements on Wednesday.”
If Ben is able to get back on the field this week, it will be behind a very different looking offensive line than the one he’s used to. Center Maurkice Pouncey is likely out for the rest of the season and left tackle Kelvin Beechum was lost for the season after tearing his ACL against the Cardinals.
Ben talked about those losses and what they mean to the team.
“We kind of had anticipated everyone getting back about this time and hopefully hitting our stride and really just kind of getting it going…That whole room, that offensive line room, I’ve said many times that they’re a special group, they’re very close and it’s not easy on them either. I know that they’ve really rallied around Cody [Wallace] and will have to rally around Al [Alejandro Villanueva] now,” Roethlisberger said.
If Ben isn’t getting the start this week behind the new look offensive line, it will be Landry Jones getting the start in place of the also injured Mike Vick.
Ben discussed what he saw from Jones this week.
“Landry went in and did an awesome job,” Roethlisberger said. “He came in and executed the offense the way we asked him to do. You got to give a lot of credit to the coaches first off for when they put him in the game, it wasn’t just, ‘Ok, let’s get conservative, run it, run it, run it, run it.’ They came in, they said, ‘Listen, let’s throw the ball.’ And then to me, the second part of that credit goes to Landry Jones because not only did they ask him to throw the ball, when they asked him to throw it, he didn’t just find his check-down right away, he made the tough throws. He made the tough throws. He made the throws to the places where it needed to go, and that’s a credit to him putting the extra work in every single week, every day, always being ready.”
Despite it being mostly all smiles and celebrations on the sidelines, wide receiver Antonio Brown was seen being unhappy at times again this week that he wasn’t getting the ball as much as he’s accustomed to. Ben addressed that again this week and was asked if he thought Brown crossed a line this week when he showed up Landry after an incomplete pass over the middle.
“You know, it’s tough. I know A.B. has been frustrated and he’s frustrated because he wants to help the team. He’s a player that when you get the ball in his hands, good things are going to happen,” Ben said. “I just think he had a momentary lapse of judgement, that’s all. I grabbed him off the field and told him, ‘Listen, you’ve got to relax. You’ve got to understand this is Landry’s first ever football game.’ I said, ‘Think about your first football game, like real football game that you went into, you probably didn’t make all the right plays and do all the right things and no one was making a big deal about it.’ He understood that. I think it was literally just a moment, a moment in time of frustration, a moment in time of wishing he could help.”
On the opposite end of the wide receiver spectrum, Roethlisberger talked about Bryant’s first game back from his suspension and how he burst back onto the scene.
“That was an awesome performance for him, and happy and proud for him that he was able to make those plays and he’s still got a ways to go, but that was pretty awesome,” he said.
The “#1 Cochran Ben Roethlisberger Show” is heard exclusively every Tuesday at 11 a.m. during the Steelers’ season on “The Cook and Poni Show” on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.
You can hear the full audio of this week’s interview here.