Roethlisberger Expects to Play Sunday

Steelers QB has gotten 'juice' this week at practice

Josh Rowntree
August 22, 2019 - 11:20 am

PITTSBURGH (93. The Fan) - Barring a ‘last minute’ change, Ben Roethlisberger will play some on Sunday when the Steelers travel to Tennessee for a prime-time, nationally televised preseason game against the Titans. 

Roethlisberger has not played in the preseason to this point, as backups Joshua Dobbs, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges have taken all of Pittsburgh’s snaps. 

“To get out there and get in the actual game speed and stuff is definitely beneficial,” Roethlisberger said Thursday morning. “I do think it’s a line that you walk, though, of not doing too much for risk of injuries and whatever else may come with that.”

At this point in his career, Roethlisberger, who is entering his 16th season, certainly benefits less than younger players in the preseason. But that does not mean that there is not some rust to be shaken off, and a couple of series in an exhibition is a suitable place for that.

“There is some value, especially because every game counts in the NFL,” he said. “In all the other major sports you can get away losing some games and you can kind of warm up to it, because (the seasons) are so long. With our season you can’t really afford to do that.”

And a strong start to the season could be ben official for Roethlisberger, who was intercepted three times and sacked four times in last year’s regular season opener at Cleveland, a 21-21 tie.

In his last ten regular season openers, Roethlisberger has thrown for 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He has been sacked 31 times in those ten games. 

The pattern, over the years, has been similar to this year, with Roethlisberger playing only in the third preseason game. Some elite quarterbacks, however, have not played at all in previous preseasons.

“Physically wise, yeah, I’d be fine with it,” Roethlisberger said. “But typically it’s short enough that you don’t get hit. I think for a quarterback, too, you want to feel that one hit, because it’s been since the last game of the year. Most of these guys get thudded around or hit a little bit and I don’t. So that first one always hurts a little more, so you want to get it out of the way early.”

One key for the Steelers’ offense will be Roethlisberger’s assimilation with his young, somewhat unproven group of wide receivers. 

“I think we’re doing well,” he said. “We can always try to improve. I’m still trying to improve myself and my game. We should always strive to get better and strive to be the best we can be, that’s individually and as a unit. 

“I’m going to try to get on the field with as many of them as possible. I think we’ll rotate receivers in. Everyone will get a little bit of time. We want to be able to play that way this year.”

Roethlisberger may want to get hit, but he may be alone in that regard. Him staying healthy is the most vital part of Sunday’s game and, really, training camp and the preseason practices, which have shifted back to the South Side. 

“It’s been fun,” he said. “This week in practice has felt a little bit different. Maybe it’s part being back here, but part knowing that I’m going to get to play a little bit. I’ve kind of had a little juice, bolt, whatever you want to call it. It gets you going.”

Watch Ben Roethlisberger’s media availability above.

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