Wednesday with Ben

Ben Roethlisberger met with the media Wednesday. Here's what the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to say:

BEN ROETHLISBERGER, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

What does losing Aaron Smith mean for this team?

It's a big loss for us on the defensive side of the ball and in leadership. He's a great guy, a great person. It seems like we're losing quite a few guys to injury this season. I wish Aaron nothing but the best and a speedy recovery.

Jacksonville has very tall defensive linemen, but you don't get many balls batted down. Why is that?

The last thing you ever think about as a quarterback is getting the ball knocked down. You've got too many other things to worry about. A lot of times it's just throwing lanes, throwing over people and around them. I know they're big, but our guys have got to get their hands down because I'm not thinking about batted balls at the line.

You have a chance to go undefeated at home. What's the difference been this season at home?

It means a lot because it's the home field advantage. It's having the crowd, having a field that you're used to, staying in town. It's nice playing at home and it would be a nice thing to go undefeated at home because just as much credit should go to the fans as it does to us.

And you have a chance to clinch a playoff spot, which is something you couldn't do last season.

That's big for us. We like being able to do that at home.

Do you admire a guy like (David) Garrard, who waited so long for his chance?

I've got a lot of respect for that guy. He's a good guy and he's doing an unbelievable job. He's taken what they've given him and he's making plays. He's doing a good job for his team. He's doing exactly what they need him to do. He sat behind Byron (Leftwich) and learned and now he's getting his time to shine.

Some guys said that Jacksonville blitzed you guys last year more than they had in the past. Do you think that was because of your appendectomy?

I have no idea. That would be a good assumption to make. I'm sure it wasn't my best game last year by far. I kind of have a bad taste in my mouth about that game last year.

How different is this team than the one they saw last year?

I think we're a different team. I think I'm playing a little bit better and understanding things a little bit better. Hopefully that makes us a better offense.

What do they do pass rush-wise? Do they generate a lot of it up the middle?

They like to use their front four to get some pressure, but they also use their linebackers. They're fast guys. They like to apply pressure, however many guys they need to do it.

Does this have the feel of a divisional game?

Yeah, it's a big game, not just because it's at home and not just because we can clinch a playoff spot. Jacksonville is a lot like us. They're physical. It's a challenge for us. Every time we've played them, it's been really close. I would expect it to be very similar this week.

They're without Marcus Stroud and Mike Peterson, what kind of players did they lose?

Very good players. They're leaders on that defense and obviously Stroud is a big guy up front. He's a load.

What gives players confidence coming off a game like the one you had Sunday?

For me it's knowing we're playing again this week. Just because we lost last week to New England doesn't mean the season is over. We have another game and we move on and move forward. That should be all the motivation we need.

Would you like to see Willie (Parker) get more of an opportunity from the goal line?

You're asking a quarterback that. However we can get the ball into the end zone. They did a good job last week of stopping us. We have some changes to be made. Does that mean we're going to run the ball more down there? We'll find out.

How did Santonio (Holmes) do last week?

I think he was good. I think he may have tweaked it at one point, but I expect him to get another week healthier and be better and hopefully we'll all play better this week.


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