Ben Roethlisberger holding court

QB Ben Roethlisberger does his weekly dance with the media and discusses the upcoming game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Ben Roethlisberger

How about the challenge of going on the road and facing a red-hot Vikings team?
It will be tough. This is a big challenge for us. They've got a good defense. This is a team that at the beginning of the year, everyone kind of counted them out except for them. They've really turned it on as of late and are playing well as a team.

How has Brad (Johnson) seemed to calm them down?
Brad brings the 14 years of experience. He brings more of a throwing mentality. I think he's done a great job of leading that team.

How are you going to handle playing in the dome this time?
We're going to have to change the cadence up. We're going to work on that today and the rest of the week, doing some new things so that we're better prepared for the noise. That's the biggest thing.

Can you audible at all in a dome?
It's really tough. The big thing is we feel if we can get in there and establish who we are right away, you feel if you can get up on a team, you can take the crowd out of it. The longer they stay around, the louder it's going to get. We expect on third down it's going to be incredibly loud. Maybe on first and second down not quite as loud. We know they're a team that's going to be into it and their crowd is going to be into it as well.

What about playing inside this time of year?
It's a plus for me as a quarterback and a lot of the guys. Your joints aren't as stiff. It's going to be 70 degrees in there, no wind, no rain. As a quarterback, you like that. For our running game, we probably like the slop and the mud that we had last week to grind it out a little bit better. But I think we'll be able to adapt.

How much does it help that you've already played in a dome?
I think it helps that we know what to expect. It's a little bit bigger than Indianapolis. We don't know if it will be as loud. We're not quite sure, but at least we have an idea of how we think it should be.

How dangerous is a guy like (Darren) Sharper?
He's one of those veteran players that probably studies the heck out of a quarterback, reads everything that goes on and jumps plays. He's got a lot of interceptions and that's why. He's a smart, veteran player.

Does this seem like the playoffs to you?
It kind of does. Last week felt like a playoff game in the snow and the weather and who we were playing. That's the way we're treating it, a one-game season. If we lose, we go home.

What are they doing to create a lot of turnovers?
I don't know if it's anything they've done differently. They have been getting turnovers and haven't been turning the ball over. That's a formula for any team. If you can get turnovers and not turn the ball over, you're going to be successful.

Are you surprised they've turned it around considering the problems they had at the beginning of the year?
They've got some special athletes. They did have a lot of problems, I'm sure a lot of people counted them out. But they're doing some great things right now. They've won six in a row and it's going to be a challenge for us, especially going into their place.

Do you get any sense of what the win did last week for the team's psyche?
I think it helped, it gave us a little bit of a push, a little energy and excitement. Not too much because we know we've still got a ways to go. It was nice to go out there and play the way that we did and re-establish our running game.

It's a playoff-type game for them too.
Both of us are playing like it's a one-game season, so both of us are going to give it all we've got. That should make for a good game.

What about continuity?
Like I've said, it's hard to get that when you're rotating quarterbacks, rotating running backs and offensive linemen. But we're starting to get used to who we've got in there. We should get Marvel (Smith) back next week. Trai (Essex) has done a good job. But we're starting to get on the same page and clicking offensively.

Are you going to wear the gloves indoors?
Yep. We're going to go throw and see how it feels today. We're going to be inside this week and it will be warm. It may sweat a little bit, but we'll make it work.

You going to be like Michael Jackson and just go with one glove?
(Laughs and walks away laughing)


Steel City Insider Top Stories