Q&A: Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger met with the media and discussed this week's opponent, the Denver Broncos, his blindside protector, and more.

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

It looks like the hand-off might be a pretty nice option on Sunday.

Yeah, I told the wide receivers and Bruce (Arians) that I'm going to have to get my throws in before practice, it might be the last throwing I do all week. They're susceptible to the run and we run the ball well, so I'm sure that's what we'll go in featuring.

They're calling for some severe weather there. That may play into that even more.

I would assume so, but we've played in a little bit of everything before.

How important is Marvel Smith to you?

I can't say he's any more or less important than rest of the offensive line, but we make a big deal of him being the blind side. I have a lot of confidence and a lot of faith in my blind side. A lot of guys in this league have to look over their shoulder quite a bit. I don't. I don't feel I have to. I have a lot of faith in him. He's a great tackle.

Familiarity with the Broncos?

In ways, certain players. Their defense is very good. I know a lot of people make a big deal out of this team being no good. Actually, they're pretty doggone good. Just because they're giving up a lot of rushing yards doesn't mean they're not a good defense. They've got a lot of big-name guys, especially in the secondary, who are going to get after it. We're going to need our best game to be able to go out there and be productive.

On Denver's pass rush now compared to what they had in the AFC Championship.

They've got a lot of different players now up front. They had the whole Browns' former defensive front. They traded them over a couple of years ago. A lot of those guys are gone now. What they do so well on defense now is what we call a Sticky Sam. They bring everybody up and they blitz everybody. Two years ago we neutralized that, hit a couple of plays on it and got them out of it. I think that's going to be the key. If they do throw that at us, we're going to have to block it up and protect it and find a way to beat it.

On getting injured players back this week.

It's huge. Obviously, it's early in the week, but I would assume everyone's back. It's good offensively to have our guys back and I think everyone who had little bumps and bruises that not everyone knew about are healed up as well.

The challenge of playing in Denver.

Like Bruce says, they're a wounded dog in a dog fight. We're going up there and it's not an easy place to play. It's going to be loud and we don't know what the weather is going to be. It's going to be a big challenge for us. We have a bad taste in our mouths from the last road loss in Arizona. We're going to have to go out and play good football.

Is it a difficult place to play?

It definitely is. I'm hoping that most of the fans will be home watching the Rockies or something. It definitely is a difficult place to play. I know a couple of years ago there were a lot of Steelers fans there and hopefully it will be the same way this time. It's not going to be easy by any means.

On Champ Bailey.

I'm going to know where he's at. That's part of the deal. They've got some guys in the secondary, Dre Bly, John Lynch, all those guys in the secondary are extremely talented and they're always around the ball. Champ got me twice last year. I've got to improve on that and always be aware of where he's at and just be smart with the ball.

Will he bait you into making a throw?

He's good enough to do that, yes. He's good enough to make you think he's sitting. He could be inside, outside, you just always have to be aware. We have to go into this – and the receivers and I know this – you can't be afraid of him. You respect him, but don't be afraid of him. If we run good routes and I put the ball where it needs to be, hopefully, we can make plays.

Is this the meat of your schedule?

It definitely is going to be tough, we've got a tough part of the schedule coming up. But we don't want to look past this one game. That's why it's the most important to us. It's not going to be easy. If we look past this and look to whoever we play next week, we're idiots. It's not going to be good for us.

On practicing with crowd noise.

We didn't for Arizona and I think coach got mad about that for the way we played. I'm sure you'll see some crowd noise this week.

On the team's confidence.

We feel good. Part of that is because we feel we're healthy. It was a good chance to get some rest and get our bodies back. And coming off a win also helps; 4-1 is better than 3-2. It's a confidence builder.

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