So, Roethlisberger was asked, how did those teams contain him last year?
"I think guys are rushing wide to keep me in the pocket to eliminate the big plays," he said. "So many times in the first two years, that's when so many of our big plays happened, when I got out of the pocket. It's just something that when it comes, you take it. Don't try to force the issue."
This year. Don't force the issue this year. And what is Roethlisberger doing this year for what his coach deemed a case of tennis elbow? "I'm not playing tennis any more," Roethlisberger said with a laugh. "It's just one of those things you get from throwing. People make a big deal out of it, but I guarantee that 99 percent of the quarterbacks in this league ice their arms after practice. People don't make a big deal about it. It's just icing an arm or rubbing it down. It's like before the game they made a big deal about my arm, with me rubbing it down, but it would be the same as if all you guys holding microphones were rubbing your arms down just to get it ready.
"It wasn't a big deal. People are making a big deal out of nothing."
And how is his health, considering last year's motorcycle accident and appendectomy?
"I feel great. I forget all about the accident and the appendectomy until I talk to you guys every week. You guys are the ones that bring it up. I feel healthy. I feel fine and I think just being out there makes it feel good."
After Sunday's loss, Roethlisberger said he wouldn't point fingers, but instead a thumb … back at himself. He said it again Wednesday.
"He doesn't really have to do that," said linebacker Joey Porter. "If the defense did the job, he wouldn't be in that situation. That's how good we think we are on that side of the ball. So by him playing the way he's playing, he actually feels he's not doing the job that he wants to do, so I can see how he wants to take on some of that responsibility, but it's a whole team. We just haven't been playing good enough football to win these games. We've been in these close games and we just haven't been able to pull them off."
NUA ERA OVER
The Shaun Nua experiment has apparently ended. The Pittsburgh Steelers released the 2005 seventh-round draft pick from their practice squad and added Junior Glymph, a 6-6, 272-pound defensive end from Carson-Newman. Glymph spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens the last three years. He played in six NFL games.
Nua was drafted by the Steelers as a future 3-4 end, and was added to the active roster last season after the San Francisco 49ers attempted to sign him. But after adding 25 pounds in the off-season to weigh 295, Nua still couldn't hold his ground at the point of attack and was released.
On Tuesday, the Steelers added defensive back Jovon Johnson to their practice squad. A 5-9, 177-pound cornerback, Johnson played high school football at Erie Mercyhurst Prep before being recruited by Kirk Ferentz to play at Iowa. There, Johnson intercepted 17 career passes and as a senior led the Big Ten in punt-return average (17.4). He was signed by the New York Jets a week after the draft and was released at training camp.
On the Steelers' failed fake punt Sunday night, punter-turned-slot receiver Chris Gardocki appeared to have missed the key block on the reverse to Bryant McFadden. But Gardocki said he wasn't supposed to block at all.
"I was hoping to release outside and he'd cover me," Gardocki said. "But once he looked inside he saw the reverse coming back. If I'd have just taken off, he wasn't going to run with me. He looked in there the whole way and once he got inside me I was done."
So Chris Hart tackled McFadden for a two-yard loss and the Chargers took over at their own 44. For the 36-year-old Gardocki, it was a sign of disrespect over his deep speed.
"Yeah, but I could've walked up the field and caught one easily," he said. "The thing was, everything was so slow with that play. The kicking ball was getting thrown in, so that didn't help, and I think they had a safe punt look."