Wednesday with Ben: Sept. 3

Ben Roethlisberger met with the media Wednesday. Here's what the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to say about the upcoming season-opening game against Houston and more:


You ready to get this thing rolling for real?

Yeah, you know what, everybody is glad it's finally here. You've been amping up for this in training camp and it counts now, it matters.

How tough is Houston?

People have looked at them as down in the past, but you don't realize how good they are, especially on defense. They're flying around all the way from the front to the back. They're a really good defense.

Are they one of those hungry teams, coming to Heinz Field to see what they can do?

I'm sure. Everyone's wanting to get this first win in the first game. We know our fans are going to be as amped up as we are. It will be a big challenge for us.

How can you improve over last season?

We can improve. I'm going to try to continue to grow as quarterback and a leader on this team. That involves learning the offense better, learning what's better against certain defenses and reading defenses. I'm going to try to just keep improving in that way.

Are you going to get even more freedom?

Oh yeah. The more time I spend with Bruce and we learn and make adjustments, the more freedom he'll give me to make changes and adjust and hopefully get us in the right play and the best play possible.

Are there any other goals than to win?

We want to have a good showing. I can't speak for the defense, but offensively we want to have a good showing, eliminate turnovers. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win.

Have you met Mario Williams at all?

I know of him, but I've never met him.

Do you hope to keep it that way?

I do. I've got a lot of confidence in our line and tight ends to do a good job of shutting him down.

The linemen obviously have to know where he is, but do you have to know as well?

I think you have to know where he's at all times because he's one of those impact-type players. Is it going to make us not run to that side? I don't think that, but you have to be aware of where he is because he's such a great player.

Because he is such a good pass rusher, how important is it for the receivers to get open quickly and you to get rid of the ball quickly?

You do have to be smart and I have to get the ball out of my hands. But I'm not going into this game thinking I'm scared of this defensive end because that would be me saying I don't have confidence in my offensive line. I do. I think they're going to do a great job of keeping all those guys away.

Do they blitz much or do they rely on their four guys to get pressure?

They rely on them but they still do a lot of blitzing. They use their speed at linebacker to play some games up front to try to confuse you. We have to be prepared to make some adjustments and I'll have to make some calls Justin (Hartwig) at center is going to have to make some calls to hopefully get the protection right.

What did the three tight end formations do for you last season?

It was big because to have the athletic tight ends like we have, whenever you see three tight ends, you're expecting run. But because of the athletes we have at tight end, we can still throw the ball. I think that's good for us because we can throw teams off.

Did your team lose something when (Jerame) Tuman went down?

He's another guy who knew the offense. I could call a play wrong in the huddle and he knew it. You did miss him, but Heath (Miller) has stepped into that and so has (Matt) Spaeth.

Does it all boil down to the line and what they do?

That's where it always starts, whether it's the run game or the passing game. I tell them that before every game. We go as they go. I'm looking forward to big things from them.

Do you have to get used to Justin? It's your third center in three years, that's kind of tough on a quarterback.

It is, but Justin has done a great job. He's learning and I'm learning from him because we kind of had Sean (Mahan) in there and now all of a sudden it's Justin. He's done a good job of adjusting to me and the rest of the guys around him and I think he'll do great.

Do you put more on your shoulders because of the new contract?

I've always said nobody is going to put more pressure on me than me. Regardless of the contract, it's about winning football games. I know the fans want us to win, but I want to win worse than anybody.

Is this team ready to play?

I think so. We're itching to get out there. I think the biggest thing is to get out there and not be too anxious, overamped. We need to be even-keeled and play football.

How much of your comfort level with Bruce allow you to use more no-huddle?

We spent a lot of time together learning this offense and putting extra time in. He feels comfortable with me. I feel comfortable with him. We're on the same page a lot of the time, which is good.

Do you have to pinch yourself sometimes to say what an amazing run its been here so far?

No, because if I get too big-headed, I get in motorcycle accidents. I try to stay even-keeled. I set my goals so high; It's the Super Bowl and that's what we're going for.

Do you have the team to do that?

I think so, I really do. We're young enough and experienced enough.

What's the biggest challenge this year?

I think it's just making sure that we stay, I think we know how good we can be, just making sure that we stay focused on what we have to do.

What would threaten that?

Listening to the media. I think we just need to stay focused on what we have to do.

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