Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Ben Roethlisberger will be a game-time decision this week, but I can’t see him playing against the Rams.
Roethlisberger didn’t practice again today, and when asked if his ankle is better than it was a week ago, Arians said, “Really haven’t seen him do anything to tell that. He’s walking a little better.”
Arians deferred to coach Mike Tomlin when asked if Roethlisberger needs to practice in some form Friday to play against St. Louis. He did the same when asked why the Steelers wouldn’t put Roethlisberger under center Saturday if they played him in San Francisco.
“I’ll see what coach says,” Arians said.
Arians said Roethlisberger didn’t make his left ankle worse by playing against the 49ers, which is why the Steelers didn’t pull him after San Francisco had built a 17-point lead. And one thing working in favor of Roethlisberger and the Steelers is they don’t have to travel across the country this week.
“It’s huge for all the guys that have injuries because when you get on that plane you swell like crazy,” Arians said. “You work the next day to get the swelling back out and it’s hard on them. It sets you back when you have to do that. That’s one of the reasons we left (center) Maurkice (Pouncey) home so he wouldn’t get a setback just by flying.”
How much of a benefit not flying is to Roethlisberger’s sprained left tackle is probably cancelled by the schedule, as the Steelers pay for the break they received from playing a Thursday-night game.
A quick turnaround wouldn’t be a big deal under normal circumstances since we’re talking about the Steelers having to play a two-win Rams team. But it means Roethlisberger will have to play just five days after hobbling his way through a 20-3 loss in San Francisco.
I can’t see that happening.
There is a lot of risk and the reward factor is negligible considering the Steelers should be able to beat the Rams with Charlie Batch playing quarterback.
Batch has taken most of the first-team snaps since Roethlisberger got hurt. And the 14th-year veteran is much more prepared to play than on Dec. 8, when Roethlisberger’s ankle injury thrust Batch into the Browns game.
“We all have confidence in Charlie,” Arians said. ”You just have to create two game plans. One that fits Charlie, one that fits Ben.”
Arians said the Steelers were prepared to go with Batch in San Francisco until Roethlisberger moved around well enough in pre-game warm ups to convince the Steelers he could play.
Arians said the Steelers will take the same approach this week, but I think the decision to start Batch and sit Ben will have been made before then.
If it hasn’t already been made.
– Scott Brown