Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers Offense Still Goes with Ben

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers Offense Still Goes with Ben

Article excerpt

Is it just me or does the Steelers offense under Todd Haley look very much like it did when Bruce Arians was calling the plays?

Ben Roethlisberger takes the snap and drops back to pass ... Roethlisberger escapes pressure by stepping up in the pocket or rolling to his right or to his left ... Roethlisberger looks downfield ... he looks, he looks ... just when it seems as if there's no way he can make a play, Roethlisberger completes a pass for a first down.

It's obvious, isn't it?

Haley's offense, just like Arians' before it, will go as far as Roethlisberger carries it.

"I like to think I'm entering the prime of my career," Roethlisberger said last week at the South Side practice facility. "I'm really excited. I hope my best football is still to come and that leads to more Super Bowls."

It seems silly now, doesn't it, that we wasted so much energy during the offseason worrying about how Roethlisberger would take to Haley and the new offense. Roethlisberger is fiercely loyal to Arians. The two have homes in a golfing community on Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga. This summer, Arians called Roethlisberger "family. ... He's my other son. ... If the reason I'm not still coaching in Pittsburgh is because I was too close to Ben Roethlisberger, I'm cool with that."

Haley is known as more of a tough love coach. He has yelled at any number of quarterbacks on the sideline during games, not because he's a bully but because he's an intense competitor and that's his way of trying to make a player better.

It only was natural to wonder how that style would play with Roethlisberger, of whom Arians said in July, "Yelling at him -- especially on game day -- is the worst thing you can do."

"People really did make a big deal about it," Roethlisberger said, fairly bristling. "I heard Cris Carter [of ESPN] ask, 'Why doesn't Ben embrace the change and want to get better?' That's ridiculous. I'm all about getting better. I never said the change was going to be bad or good. I just said it was a change. It was what it was."

It turns out Haley and Roethlisberger have played nice.

For the most part, anyway.

"We had one little incident," Roethlisberger said.

It happened during the Denver game Sept. 9 when the Steelers were beaten, 31-19.

"I walked away. I'll leave it at that. I walked away," Roethlisberger said.

There was no carryover effect.

Haley and Roethlisberger made sweet music together last Sunday when the Steelers beat the New York Jets, 27-10, at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes to 10 receivers for 275 yards and two touchdowns. It's a good thing he made so many plays because the running game was inept for the second consecutive week.

"It felt good," Roethlisberger said. "Not everything was clean, but it's early. I had to scramble around some and you'd like to avoid that. …

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