Tag:Ben Roethlisberger
Posted on: June 9, 2011 8:58 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 4:46 pm

Rivers not headed to UFL if lockout drags on

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Philip Rivers is often mentioned as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. The unquestioned leader in San Diego, he was part of a 2004 draft class that included Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Poll 100 fans, and the majority would take Rivers over the other two, even though he's the only one without a Super Bowl ring. Which just reinforces the point that it takes more than a franchise QB to win championships (although it's almost impossible to pull off without one).

Like most players, the lockout has left Rivers with no day job and a lot of time on his hands. To keep busy, he has organized team workouts to keep some semblance of order amid and otherwise weird offseason.

On Wednesday, Rivers spoke with XX Sports Radio (via SportsRadioInterviews.com) in San Diego about everything from an eight-game season to whether the UFL (!) would be an option if the NFL season is pushed back or canceled.

The league has contingency plans for a shortened schedule should it come to that. And while it's not something anybody wants, recent history suggests that it won't have much of an impact on the eventual champion. Which might explain why, in Rivers' mind, whether eight games or 16, a Super Bowl title is a Super Bowl title.

“Oh, eight game season (is) crazy," Rivers said. "Shoot you only played 10 in high school. Play eight, get in, let’s go. It counts the same.

"I certainly won’t feel bad if that’s the case and we’re able to go on and win it. Definitely eight games over no season. Certainly prefer 16 over eight, but there needs to be football of some sort. I’m not ready to concede to the fact that eight games is a possibility. We still have two months to get something done.”

Rivers admitted that he "just can't really even believe [a lockout] can happen" because "I don't have a back-up plan." He even went so far as to tell his wife that "I’m playing football somewhere, sometime this season."

That led to the inevitable follow-up about if that meant the UFL was an option.

“No... . I’m not going that far. I just can’t imagine not playing football and it’s not happening. I think everybody else feels the same way. Hopefully both sides with this lawsuit and negotiations feel the same way too. Ultimately it’s like that research paper that’s due, you’ve known it for three months but for some reason you’re sitting up at the last night typing it at midnight. It’s not midnight yet…"

Translation: "I love football, but not enough to risk the rest of my career, millions of dollars, and the chance at some titles just to play with the Sacramento Mountain Lions."

For now, Rivers, like the rest of us, waits. Just don't expect him to keep you updated on his offseason goings on via Twitter because he's not a fan. “I understand it can be a great tool and it can be super positive," he said. "It just seems to me to be something else to manage that doesn’t seem to be necessary.”

We have no idea what you're talking about, Philip.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 7:27 pm

Cromartie, Bayless have Big Ben's back

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might have two Super Bowl rings, but even after seven NFL seasons some players remain unconvinced that he's anything more than a glorified game manager. That's the conclusion we're drawing based on Big Ben's recent ranking as the league's 41st best player as voted on by 400 of his peers.

Not everybody feels that way, however. Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie took exception and tweeted as much. Responding to ESPN's Skip Bayless, who wrote "Big Ben definitely is in my top 10 NFL players," Cromartie put that Florida State psychology degree to work*:

"@RealSkipBayless same here skip...whoever did the voting is crazy."

Cromartie, who will be a free agent as soon as the lockout ends, has a love-hate relationship with NFL quarterbacks. In January, prior to the AFC Divisional matchup between the Jets and Patriots, he spoke frankly about Our Savior Tom Brady, calling him an "ass----" and offering up a "f--- him" for good measure.

"That's what I think about him," Cromartie said at the time. "I don't really give a damn about him. I don't have to play against him. I play against the receivers."

Despite the blasphemy, the Jets managed to thump the Pats and make it to their second AFC Championship Game in as many years. In the days leading up to the conference finals against the Steelers, Cromartie spoke glowingly of Roethlisberger.

"I love Ben, man," he said. "Ben's a competitor."

We're not sure if the Jedi mind tricks backfired or if Cro was blinded by Big Ben's magnificence (we're thinking it was mostly the former; Roethlisberger completed just 10 of 19 passes for 133 yards and threw two picks in that game), but the Steelers built a 24-3 halftime lead, held on to win by five and made their third Super Bowl trip in five years.

On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker wrote that "[N]o one is laughing this week about Roethlisberger's latest snub. Cromartie certainly doesn't like it, and although Roethlisberger wouldn't admit it, he's probably not happy about it, either."

We suspect that Cromartie is losing more sleep about the lack of paychecks resulting from the lockout than whether Ben's contemporaries think highly enough of his talents. And while Roethlisberger may not be jazzed about it, we're confident that Steelers fans don't much care (we know we don't). At the very least, Big Ben's feelings are at the bottom of the "Things That Concern Fans Most This Offseason" list behind "Resolve labor dispute," "Re-sign Ike Taylor," and "Make sure Mendenhall has a ghost blogger for future posts."

Lists are created for one reason: to encourage debate. But it could be worse for Roethlisberger -- he could be Eli Manning, who isn't expected to be among the top 100 players of 2011. (Seriously? We could understand if this was an all-century team, or even all-decade. But Elisha can't crack the 2011 squad? Yes, we're breaking our own rule about not caring about lists, but this is so ridiculous that even one of the Barber twins has a problem with it.)

If nothing else, we've enjoyed Bayless and Cromartie leading the PR crusade on Roethlisberger's behalf. That's a reality show waiting to happen.

* We have no idea what Cromartie majored in at FSU.

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 4:40 pm

Analyst says Flacco needs to work harder

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, NFL Network's Jamie Dukes spoke frankly about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

"He still may have to work a little harder than he's working right now," Dukes said on Wednesday's Total Access. "There's no question he's a talented quarterback. But from what I hear coming out of that locker room, he studies but some say he might need to put a little more time in. That's what I hear."

Dukes' comments came nearly two months after Flacco first lobbied for a contract extension. "I think I've established myself," Flacco told the Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley at the time.

Dukes' accusation that Flacco "might need to put a little more time in" was news to Sun's blogger Matt Vensel, who writes that "Flacco is notorious for roaming the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills on off days and he has probably been at the facility shaking on doors during the lockout.

"He even organized a hotel sleepover party with Ravens rookies Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Tyrod Taylor on Monday night and drove them to Tuesday’s workout at Towson University."

Clearly, there is more to this story than Flacco's study habits. Before recommitting himself to being an upstanding human, Ben Roethlisberger had never been mistaken for Peyton Manning in the film room. He was supposedly aloof and not much of a locker room guy. The difference: he won two Super Bowls in his first five years in the NFL. The old cliche "winning fixes everything" fits here, and it's reasonable to believe that if the Ravens had managed to win it all during Flacco's first three years in the league we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

Remember, until Aaron Rodgers put the Packers on his back against the Steelers in the Super Bowl four months ago, most media stories were about his inability to "win it all." Never mind that he not only exceeded everyone's expectations when he took over for Brett Favre in 2008, but was a top-10 quarterback in FootballOutsiders.com's total value metric in each of his three seasons as a starter (and in '10, he ranked fourth behind Tom Brady, Manning and Philip Rivers). Yet, it took a championship to legitimize him in the eyes of the media.

Is it fair? Of course not. But it's not unexpected, either. It's part of the implicit pact you make: earn millions as an NFL quarterback with the understanding that you'll endure all that comes with it -- both on and off the field. For Rodgers, that meant stepping out of Favre's shadow and doing the impossible: replacing a legend and playing so well that fans forgot about No. 4.

Luckily, there isn't much of a quarterback track record in Baltimore. Former head coach Brian Billick made sure of that. But it doesn't mean expectations aren't high. Linebacker and de facto team leader Ray Lewis has been outspoken more than once in his 15-year career about the offense carrying its weight. And fans are even less forgiving, especially when two of the Ravens' playoff losses during Flacco's tenure have come at the hands of the hated division rival Steelers.

As is always the case, it's not enough to just implore the quarterback to play better and the offense will magically refashion itself into the 2007 Patriots. Flacco shares some of the blame, for sure, but the Ravens' offensive line struggled at times last season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Flacco was blitzed on 50 percent of dropbacks (second in the NFL behind only Bruce Gradkowski of the Raiders), pressured on a third of those blitzes, sacked 24 percent of the time, and completed just 47 percent of his passes.

Not Pro Bowl numbers, but about average, which is what one-time Ravens QB of the future Kyle Boller aspired to. (Again citing FootballOutsiders.com, Flacco ranked 11th in total value among all NFL quarterbacks in 2010.)

Either way, defenses went after Flacco because they identified a weakness in the blocking scheme, felt that Flacco didn't respond well to pressure, or some combination of the two. The remedy requires more than Flacco improving his study habits, as Dukes suggest. The pass-blocking has to improve, the receivers have to run better routes, and ultimately, Flacco has to limit his mistakes. But one without the others is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. 

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 9:07 am

Roethlisberger could play another eight seasons

Roethlisberger Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Will already told you about the pain Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger feels every time he steps foot into his bathroom (and it’s got NOTHING to do with kidney stones).

But I also found it interesting when Roethlisberger talked to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about when he might retire. Since he’s been in the league since 2004 and since he’ll enter his eighth season of competition, he figures he’s about halfway home. Go for another eight years, Roethlisberger said, and he might be ready to step off the field.

“Sixteen years is a long, good career,” Roethlisberger told the paper. “Eight years is long considering the normal life expectancy in this game. If I'm lucky enough and my body's still intact and that's what I'm supposed to do, I'll play as long as I can. I'd like to call it halfway."

Playing another eight or nine years would be a lofty goal for Roethlisberger. He’s already made clear that he wants to win more Super Bowl titles than any other NFL QB in history (he’s got two, and Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and San Francisco’s Joe Montana each have four), and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could win three Super Bowls in the next eight or nine years (highly unlikely but not impossible).

But Roethlisberger also takes such a pounding each season – most of which is by design – you have to wonder if physically he’ll get to play for that long.

Maybe getting married will help his long-term health (doesn't science say that it does?) – even if it makes him a little bit crazier as a byproduct.

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 2:39 pm

Big Ben's bathroom reminder: Super Bowl nameplate

Posted by Will Brinson

The Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers did not go over well with Ben Roethlisberger, as you might expect. In fact, I remember standing with Gregg Doyel, who would later write this piece about how much it hurt Ben, watching a suddenly beardless Ben get dressed while being carefully guarded from speaking with the media. (Yes, that sentence sounds ended up worse than I thought it would.)

As further proof of how much the loss hurt him, though, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers up this proof: Ben's got his Super Bowl nameplate positioned in a prominent spot in his bathroom.

"The day I got back, I took my nameplate from my locker -- 'Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl XLV' -- and it's sitting underneath my mirror in my bathroom," Roethlisberger said. "I want to see that every day. It hurts a lot."

Losing a Super Bowl was a new experience for Roethlisberger, who'd won his first two starts in the big one, and it's clearly not something he's going to quickly forget.

"The first loser, and that kills me," Ben said. "Until I can get back to that point, I want to remember the pain, and it's going to burn in me until we can get back and win one. If it never happens, I'll be killed, but I'm going to do my best to get back there."

Roethlisberger also added that he "wants to get one more than anybody else" -- winning last year's Super Bowl against the Packers would have put him in a pretty good position to eclipse the current high of four (Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are the only quarterbacks with that many each).

Now Ben needs three titles to top Bradshaw and Montana, which is still an absolute possibility, but not something anyone would expect at this point.

Then again, Roethlisberger's also now firmly aware of the devastating pain that comes with actually losing one, and that could end up providing more motivation than any bathroom mirror ever could.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:11 am

Roethlisberger talks about Arians and passing

Posted by Andy BenoitB. Roethlisberger

When Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, he and Ben Roethlisberger did not always see eye to eye. That’s not an issue with the quarterback and current coordinator, Bruce Arians.

In an interview last week with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger talked about his relationship with Arians, and about their shared predilection for assaulting defenses through the air.

"If he were, I don't want to say 'allowed,' but his preference would be to throw the ball more, use the weapons we have and throw it," Roethlisberger said of Arians. "Mine's the same way.

"But we both think the same in the no-huddle, that we call a lot more runs because we know that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know if that's 'supposed to' from the fans, the media, the owner, who knows? But it's just a feeling that you have that we better run the ball some. So we do think alike in a lot of those ways."

The Steelers became a pass-happy team in 2008 (their Super Bowl winning year) but have since leveled out to their more familiar black-and-blue run approach.

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Posted on: April 10, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 9:16 pm

Hot Routes 4.10.11: Um, I'll pass on Cam Newton

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Seems like everything is OK with Alabama WR Julio Jones’ foot after a re-check in Indianapolis. He still put on one of the most impressive performances at the NFL combine, considering he was performing on a fractured foot.
  • Apparently, Cam Newton is the type of player that teams hope other teams draft. Some squads don’t want Newton falling into their lap. Also within this report, Da’Quan Bowers had a productive meeting with the Bills, and Buffalo’s doctors cleared him.
  • Sounds like, just like many other teams, the Cowboys players are going to hold unsupervised offseason workouts assuming the lockout continues. However, there’s some sort of pact between the players that they’re not going to publicize the workouts. Oooh, mysterious!
  • A judge in Ohio has set former Ohio State QB Art Schlichter’s bond at $1 million.

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Posted on: April 8, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: April 8, 2011 12:54 pm

Herremans jabs Big Ben and religious fiancee

Posted by Andy Benoit

Ben Roethlisberger got engaged during this past season to Ashley Harlan, a New Castle (PAA. Harlan (New Castle News)) gal he met at training camp in 2005. Originally, the two dated briefly and then settled on the friends thing. They reconnected romantically this past summer. That went well enough for them to be engaged by Christmas.

The wedding is set for July 23 (just days before the Steelers open training camp…if there are training camps, of course). The entire Steelers roster and coaching staff has been invited, as have more than 400 other guests.

Roethlisberger has been mum about his private life the past several months. (You may recall he had a bad episode once…or twice…that leaked to the press and caused quite a disturbance for him.) However, this week, he spoke publicly about his wedding for the first time in an interview with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In the interview, Roethlisberger said the couple will not be taking gifts at their wedding, but rather, asking guests to make a donation to the Ronald McDonald House and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. He said they’ve been receiving gifts from strangers and are surprised at the amount of media attention being given to their upcoming nuptials.

More electrifying was this bit from Bouchette’s piece: “Ms. Harlan, a physician's assistant who turns 27 in July, lives at home with her parents. Mr. Roethlisberger cited the couple's religious faith and beliefs as the reasons for not living together until marriage.”
Big Ben

If you feel inclined to roll your eyes or make a snide comment, you’re not the only one. Check out what Eagles guard Todd Herremans tweeted: “What a turnaround... Rapistberger to Religiousberger... Good for him!”

After some backlash from Twitterverse, Herremans took to his Twitter account and defended himself. He tweeted, “Funny how it takes all day to get negative feedback from a tweet … If u read it correctly… It reads ‘good for him.’”

OK, Todd.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com