Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke Wednesday about his struggles, getting out of the pocket and other issues facing the Pittsburgh Steelers after a 1-2 start.
What do you think of the situation with Terrell Owens?
I don't know the whole story of it. Obviously a lot of people don't, only he does. I just hope that he's OK. He's obviously a great football player and I'm sure he's a great person as well.
We've not seen you go through stretch like this until now. Is there a reason for it? Are you hurting at alll? Did you come back too soon?
I don't know. I haven't lost two in a row, I think, since my sophomore year in college. It's a weird feeling. There are no excuses. I'm not going to blame it on the wind. I'm going to blame it on the way I'm playing. We'll try and find a way to correct it so it doesn't happen again.
Have you been getting out of the pocket a little too early?
Actually, I was talking to coach (Cowher) and we decided that maybe I needed to run a little bit more. I've kind of gotten away from running the ball. He said, ‘Take your six yards and slide.' We'll see. I'm not going to go out and try to change anything. I'm going to continue to go out and play the way I play and just try to make smart decisions.
That being said, it is good to have this extra week off?
I think this bye week comes – it's kind of a double-edged sword for me – I want to get out there and prove that we can go. But it's going to be nice to get some rest and kind of step back and really focus in on what we need to do.
Are you going to treat the practices this week like a mini-camp?
Yeah, that's what it is. There are no games. We'll go against our defense, which is always a fun task. It's going to be a time to get out and work on some things.
You've been a popular guy in this town. Are you seeing a little bit of the other side of it now?
Not yet and I hope I don't have to.
There were a few boos on Sunday.
Were there? I think they were coming from you guys.
When you are talking about running, are you talking about doing it by design or are you talking about when a play breaks down, getting out of the pocket?
I think when it comes to scrambling, there's kind of a fine line. It's not necessarily you design, but it's not something you want to do too soon. I think when we went back and looked at the film, there were a couple of plays where maybe I tried to stay a passer too long instead of taking the yardage and getting down. It's a fine line to walk, but we'll find a way to get back to playing my style of football.
You guys have been in this situation before with your backs against the wall. Even though you're 1-2, I'm sure there's no reason to panic.
People say you get your back against the wall, I don't think we're to that state yet. I think we can see the wall, but I don't think our backs are against it just yet. We know there's a sense of urgency. We don't like to lose, nobody around here does. It is time for us to button up the chin straps and go at it because we can't afford to lose many more football games. I think you'll see a new team come out of this bye week.
Is there a little bit of a growth process with this receiving corps? There is a lot of youth out there after Hines (Ward) and Cedrick (Wilson).
There's growth going on not just with the receiving corps but with me as an offensive player and a quarterback with these guys. Obviously Hines is a veteran guy and he's helping the rest of us out, but we're all growing. I'm not going to say that anyone needs to grown. It's all of us. We all need to continue to grow together.
Jacksonville kind of knocked the rust off and then you said you made a step, so obviously you're getting close to where you want to be.
I think we're getting closer. I think that's the thing. I've always said that you need to continue to improve or you deteriorate, you never stay the same. People look at it as we're sliding backward. I don't think so, not yet. We've played two really good football teams. We do have a ways to go, but we are making some progress. Offensively, we will come around because our defense is playing great right now. I feel that we let them down. We won't let that happen again.
Do you feel yourself getting stronger?
I do. I feel a lot better. I'm working out and I really feel good about where I'm at. Coach wants me to put on a little weight, but I feel good with where I'm at right now.
It seems like you guys relish the role of people saying the Steelers aren't where they were last season.
It's that underdog role. Everytime we seem like we're on top, we find a way to put ourselves back in that underdog role. We're not going to pull that card yet.
Is Hines seeing more double teams?
I think so and he deserves it. He's one of the best receivers in the game. That's why we need to make sure that we as a group – me included – find ways to get the other receivers involved. I need to make sure I deliver the ball to them.
Did you need to see the game tapes to see that there was running room, or did you sense it after it happened?
I kind of sensed it a little bit, but watching it on tape kind of reiterated the fact that maybe there were some plays where I needed to use my legs a little more. I feel like I am a little bit lighter and that I can be a little more of a weapon running the ball.
Has the motorcycle accident had an effect on your play?
I don't know. It's hard to say. The doctors said there's nothing wrong with my brain, but I'm having brain farts out there. It's just one of those things that you make mistakes and you learn from them. Hopefully, I'll learn quickly from them.
I know you don't listen to talk shows, but there have been a lot of calls wondering if that rust would have been knocked off quicker had you played more in the preseason?
It's hard to say. The last time we played a game was in the Super Bowl. The preseason is a time to get out and practice, but it's a time for a lot of people to get out and play. We made decisions and I'm not going to go back and ask if I should have played more. We'll let it go.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter