But his offensive coordinator begs to differ.
Not that Ken Whisenhunt hasn't been pleased by how
Roethlisberger has played. But he knows the rookie can be even
better - a prospect that has to concern opposing teams.
"Sometimes when he comes out from under center, he turns the
wrong way and his footwork is off," said Whisenhunt. "But you
want to be careful with what you do with him, because you don't
want him thinking about that other stuff. You just want him
Roethlisberger is coming off his best performance so far in
Sunday's 34-23 victory over Cleveland. He completed 16 of 21
passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He
also scrambled for a score.
In four games, Roethlisberger has completed nearly 65 percent
of his passes for 744 yards and five touchdowns. He's been
sacked only four times - the same number Tommy Maddox was
sacked before being injured in the third quarter of the season's
Roethlisberger's ability to avoid a rush and scramble is
something opponents must account for on every play. The
Steelers have some plays for when Roethlisberger ventures out
of the pocket, something Maddox has rarely done.
"It's something you really can't practice on the practice field,"
said wide receiver Hines Ward. "We always have one guy going
deep, one guy coming short and one guy coming back to the
And Roethlisberger has made it work.
"Sometimes, you see somebody down the field and it's a close
call," Roethlisberger said. "You have to second-guess yourself
and be smart. Let's not force anything and let's not be stupid. A
lot of times, you don't even have time to think, you just play
That's the fine line Whisenhunt is trying to walk with
Roethlisberger. He doesn't want to hinder his quarterback's
natural playmaking ability, but he also knows opponents will try
to keep him in the pocket.
"He has a lot of confidence in himself that when things break
down, he can scramble out and make a play. And you don't want
to mess with that," said Whisenhunt. "But you also want to tell
him, 'Look, in this situation, you want to look for this receiver and
stay in the pocket.' You can't make a living making plays while
outside the pocket. That will only last so long. Right now, he's
making plays doing it. He's making some good throws in the
pocket and he's making some good throws outside of the
And Roethlisberger has established himself as a leader.
"As quarterback, you have to be (a leader) no matter what,"
Roethlisberger said. "I am out there trying to lead by example,
trying to do the things I can and just trying to win football games.
That is all that matters to me right now."
Running with Roethlisberger
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