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Roethlisberger is doing nothing more than motivating himself


Over the past two weeks, and including the opening of organized team activities Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the opportunity to let it be known to whoever was within ear-shot that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook isn’t an entry-level course.

I believe that words “Rosetta Stone” were used on a couple of occasions on how he views the Haley playbook.

Translation? It’s pretty doggone tough.

Columnist Dejan Kovacevic had a wonderful piece in today’s Trib opining that the quarterback needs to get over complaining about the complexity of Haley’s playbook.

Kovacevic simply said: “Time to cope.”

Like it or not, but this is how Roethlisberger copes.

Maybe we need him to get over the fact that this isn’t Bruce Arians’ playbook anymore, but, in reality, Roethlisberger need to make it feel like an impossible challenge in order to motivate himself.

Is it strange? Absolutely.

Should he change his ways? Absolutely not.

Agree with it or disagree with it, but Roethlisberger engraining it in the psyche of the public that he is faced with impossible odds motivates him to do his best – always has.

He’s done it for years and years with his injuries and/or sicknesses. I am not suggesting that he wasn’t hurting at times, but it’s well-known that he likes to exaggerate those injuries at times as well.

Again, it’s a way for him to protect himself and motivate himself all at once. It works for him, so why not accept it for what it is worth?

This whole playbook thing is a safety net for him just in case he does fail or does struggle early on. It’s just the way the guy motivates himself. He has no malice intentions.

And seriously, do you really think come Sept. 9 (a Sunday night in front of a national audience) in Denver that Ben Roethlisberger is going to be struggling with Todd Haley’s playbook? He’s not going to understand the terminology or a route combination? Come on, let’s give the guy a little credit here.

With OTAs, minicamp, training camp and preseason games, Roethlisberger will have somewhere in between 45-50 opportunities of on-the-job training over the next few months.

I think he might just pick it up by then, don’t you?

• Mark Kaboly
• Published: May 23, 9:21 a.m.
• @MarkKaboly_Trib


Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. JAMESH says:

    wow. Good insightful analysis.

  2. Rob says:

    Has nobody considered that Ben’s comments about the complexity of the playbook might be a compliment to Haley? After all, Ben is essentially stating that it’s not exactly something a 2-year-old could read or write.

    That aside, Kovacevic’s “get over it” line seems to assume that it is Ben who keeps bringing up the topic. Last I heard, it’s the reporter’s job to ask new questions, not Ben’s job to find new answers to the same old questions (or are you saying that you don’t want him to be consistent?). And if he suddenly started saying, “I’ve mastered the playbook” less than a month after he got his first look at it, wouldn’t that belie his statements about how complex the playbook is?

    So, to all the reporters who get tired of hearing the same answers to their questions, you have two options: ask new questions, or get over it.

  3. joe walsh says:

    Ben needs to man up and be a leader. Take ownership of this offense. If he the supposed leader of this offense and is complaining, what is everyone else on offense supposed to think?

  4. nellieh says:

    He is a terriffc QB but you would think a gazillion dollars a year would be motvatin enugh. He is a diva, no doubt. Mighty Mouse to the rescue.!! Da de da!

  5. Dart says:

    With this line…Ben will be a paraplegic by the season’s end.

  6. mark mcfadden says:

    Heh Ben, we’ve been told that the new playbook is completely different from Arian’s with all new terminology, so it looks like it’s going to take a long while to learn it all and get comfortable, what would you compare this new playbook to??? Ben: “Probably the Rosetta stone”. It’s what a good reported does, he tricks players into make a quote they can use to generate a story, or multiple stories, you guys don’t know that? And, You guys have been tricked into responding to this story. As the world turns! Let it die. The Steelers try to teach the players how the reporters questions are designed to trick them, and the players do their best. Most stories are generated by something someone says like keenen Lewis saying he’s going to make the pro bowl, take the new starting spot and show the coaches how good he really is this year as opposed to the other 3 years.

  7. Steve Williams says:

    I think Ben’s commentary on the new playbook is just a smoke screen…..

  8. David says:

    It’s like opening up a new restuarant, the concept is a hundred years old your either gonna run or your gonna pass, just make completions and get us fans number 7 already, as in 7th Lombardi trophy. To the media, stop asking the same questions a billion different ways, you’ve become “Predictable!

  9. Zarbor says:

    Totally disagree with this article. I like Ben on the field because he’s an incredible athlete, a very good QB (not elite) and one of the best playmakers ever! Really care less about Ben off the field. With that being said, Ben is at crucial point in his career. Yes, he has helped us win two Superbowls but he wasn’t the main reason but a big part of why we won them. Hence, he has never been in the conversation for league MVP and clearly not for Superbowl MVP.

    Do we really care about MVPs as Steelers? Nope. Just championship trophies and rings. However, with Haley coming back to the Burgh and the success that he brings with him, why wouldn’t Ben be excited about this new offense like most of the other offensive players seem to be? Listen to those guys then listen to Benji. Yet Ben has the most to gain from this change… opportunity to be even better.

    Its pretty clear that Ben is still upset about Arians leaving. Listening to his comment about the running game again. He is probably even more upset about the changing of the offense since he kept saying that he hopes Haley tweaks it and not change it all together. He changed it all. Lets also keep in mind that Ben has never shown to be a great pocket passer in the likes of Manning, Brady, Brees even Rivers (who had a horrible year). Haley’s system seems to require a pocket passer that is smart with the ball, read the defense and execute the play getting rid of the ball quickly. Is that Ben style of play? Nope.

    Under Arians, Ben did whatever he pleased. He is reckless (as he was off the field) and most of the times it works out well for us. Its like school yard football and he loves it. He thrives in it but its either big reward or big failure. Its where we have adopted “Ben will be Ben.” Most folks outside of the Burgh and non-Steeler fans don’t like it nor respect it. Nevertheless, he wins no matter how undisciplined it looks.

    This is why Haleys system is Rosetta Stone because it probably will require discipline and accuracy in the pocket. Neither is Ben’s strength and his comments don’t sound like he’s ready to embrace it yet. I personally believe this is exactly what Ben needs to be considered elite if he embraces this change that most QB go thru all of the time. Our season is riding more on Ben taking another step forward more than ever since he’s been the QB.

    He has to take his game to next level and he has a chance under Haley that he would never had under Arians. Look what he did with a wash up Kurt Warner. Ben can say whatever he wants but he was not getting better under Arians and probably never will. I would have expected as the definitive leader of this team (Hines and Farrior are gone) he would keep those “comment” to himself and realize that it gives other excuses to not buy in to the new system. It is a poor display of leadership.

    Will Ben buy in? Yes. Will he completely buy in? The true test will be whenever it gets tough on offense during a game. Time will tell and it will define this season.

  10. Dick says:

    A lot of analysis here re Ben and Haley’s system. Let’s cut to the quick. We were fortunate to get Ben in the draft when we did. He is the leader of the team and will continue to be. He is the best Steeler QB to come along since Terry Bradshaw who was roundly criticized over his career despite guiding the team to four Super Bowl wins. Ben will master Haley’s playbook and all will be better for it. We had an excellent draft and all should be looking forward to a successful season.

  11. Not easy for any of us to change,but to try and read through a person’s comment is ridiculous.Must not be much to write about right now.Two time winning superbowl quarterback is not going to be asked to change that much.They will let him do what he does best.As far as exaggerating his injuries I would like to see the writer go out and play some football after some of the injuries our QB has suffered,

  12. Dick says:

    You go girl! Let’s get a little enthusiasm up and going for Ben. If we are going to get to the Super Bowl it will only be because of Ben.

  13. Jack says:

    I think it IS foolish to keep Ben in the pocket and use the short passing game. Ben is not Kurt Warner. The most success the Steelers offense has had happens with the long pass and improvision. As Tomlin might call it

  14. Dick says:

    Would like to change here a bit and bring up Mike Wallace. This guy can be an immense talent but ‘m worried about his head. It seems like this game is loaded with talented wideouts who can’t get their head on straight. Yes, I believe players should be paid well in this big business game but there has to be recognizable limits to their demands. You can’t bleed a team dry to the point that with today’s salary caps you strip a team’s ability to pay the rest of the players. The result is a team that struggles to even make the playoffs. So c’mon Mike, you can and will be a multi-millionaire but it sure would be nice if you would show a little team spirit. I have to question the advice you are getting this early in your career. Refusing to join the team is only hurting the team and yourself. If you knew anything at all about the Steelers you would realize that. Join the team now, learn the new system, and let’s win some Super Bowls.

  15. Mark says:

    although Ben never hides when something is bothering him, not matter how little, i dont think he really has ever complained or exaggerated an injury, he is honest about the injuries but doesnt play them down…if he is a little banged up he says it, but at the same time doesnt use it as an excuse…i also think he will be absolutely fine, more than anything i think it shows a little bitterness still about Arians being let go…that should change when they end up in thetop 5 in red zone scoring this year, go Steelers

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