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Q&A with Ben Roethlisberger

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Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review

Tuesday’s Q&A with Ben Roethlisberger

(Opening statement)
It was a crazy ending, and I’m glad I wasn’t in that game. As an offensive player, sure, I’d say it was a tie (that goes to the offensive player). If I was on defense, no, but it’s tough. Like I’ve said, I’m glad that I wasn’t put in that situation.

(Any different than regular refs?)
Well, (pauses), it’s hard. It’s just different, but part of me feels bad for the guys (referees), because they’re not used to this. It’s tough. Even the regular officials make mistakes. Everyone’s human, but they’re just getting extra criticized. Somebody made a good point this morning, that I don’t know if we should be blaming the refs as much as the league, (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell, the owners, I don’t know who it is. But maybe it’s not just the officials. They’re in a tough situation, and it can’t be easy.

(How much freelancing is going on?)
I probably didn’t speak clearly enough. It wasn’t necessarily that I called plays as much as I used hand signals. I really didn’t think it would get blown up as much as it did, and I know some people are saying that I’ve been resistant to Todd (Haley). But it’s one of those things that we went to Todd, and it’s in the playbook now. It was simply a signal that I used with our receivers on two different occasions. One was on the fourth-and-one, (where) we got the ball to Mike (Wallace). The other one was later on third down to Emmanuel (Sanders). So, we converted on both plays. It worked out. The point of me saying that … where everybody is on the same page (with) me using signals that we’ve had for a long time that weren’t necessarily in the offense, but they are now. So, it’s just good that we’re on the same page.

(Envision no-huddle success so early?)
We work very hard at it and put a lot of extra work in, me, the receivers, tight ends, the line, the coaches, and we ask a lot of questions and got a lot of answers. So, this is just a lot of hard work paying off.

(Few opportunities for big plays?)
We still have opportunities to do that, but I think they’re just taking it away. We called a couple deep ones, but they either were in the right defense or doubled our deep guy. But we still have had some opportunities, maybe not quite as many (as in Bruce Arians’ play book), but it’s probably close. I don’t know the exact number, but it’s probably pretty close. And we still have a few shots.

(Talk to Arians lately?)
We talk every week, and I mostly ask about Andrew (Luck) about how he’s doing. I’m always interested in the other quarterbacks in the league.

(New terminology?)
The good thing is that we’re getting better with the hand signals. Not only did we have to learn new words (for the plays), but we had to learn new hand signals. So, that’s been tricky, but I think we’ve done a good job. And I think you have to give credit to the wide receivers, because they’re the ones who have had to learn the most. That’s why we reverted to old signals, because we all knew them and knew them for such a long time. So, on two different occasions, we used a simple signal, and they worked. … It’s not like I was going against (Haley), because he probably would have agreed to it if we went to him first. But it first came up in the game, and now it’s in the playbook. It was just a simple, little hand signal.

(Haley passed a lot in Arizona?)
I think Todd uses what he has, and in Arizona he had some great wide receiver weapons and Kurt Warner was a great quarterback. In Kansas City, they had Charles and a great running game, so that allowed him to do more with that. … We’ve got some pretty good weapons in the running game and the passing game, and I thought we ran the ball pretty efficiently last week when we ran it. It’s just that we threw the ball more, because we could. We had a lot of success throwing the ball because we were successful, so why not throw it. We’re not going to run the ball just because we’re supposed to. So, last week, we were more successful throwing the ball, so we threw it.

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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

 
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