Roethlisberger Motivated by Super Bowl, Not Critics

Watch as Steelers QB meets with media for first time in Latrobe

Josh Rowntree
July 26, 2019 - 2:19 pm

Related: Steelers Focused, Embracing ‘Underdog’ Role

LATROBE, Pa. (93.7 The Fan) - For the first time in a decade, Ben Roethlisberger arrived at Steelers training camp without the receiver he formed one of the NFL best all-time connections with, Antonio Brown. 

Now, the 37-year-old Roethlisberger will try to find the next go-to-target among a crop of wideouts led by JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

But being Smith-Schuster, there are some unknowns.

“It’s kind of too early to tell so far,” Roethlisberger said Friday morning. “It’s different, different people. It’s always that way a little bit, turnover, new guys and some guys leave.”

Roethlisberger’s leadership and character were dragged through the mud this offseason, with Brown leading the way. The quarterback, however, has mostly taken the high road when asked about it, and that continued Friday.

“The things that we did together were some things that nobody has ever done,” he said of Brown. “Peyton (Manning) and Marvin (Harrison) maybe. In the last few years, what we did, it was pretty special. So it’s going to be hard to make up for that. I’m going to do my best to still bring my ‘A’ game and I know we have other guys on this team that are ready to step up.”

Roethlisberger led the NFL is completed passes and pass attempts in 2018, but was also intercepted 16 times, the most in the league. 

“I have to play better,” he said. “I always start with myself. It starts with me because I always have the ball in my hands. I need to make sure that I distribute the ball to guys and don’t turn the ball over.”

And distributing the ball will be a must. Brown was targeted 168 times last year and, while the Steelers could supplement some of that with more of a commitment to the run game, there will still be plenty of balls to go around to a younger group of receivers.

“I know what they can do,” Roethlisberger said. “I know that they can catch, that they can play. I want to see who makes the least amount of mistakes, who can get a subtle hand signal, who can interpret even visual signals. That’s the fun part.”

If the Steelers shift the offensive philosophy to more of a run-based offense than in recent years, Roethlisberger is fine with it. 

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” he said. “I’d rather throw for five yards and win than 500 and lose. I’ll just take a win. Whatever we need to do to win football games, make the playoffs and try and win a Super Bowl, that’s what I’m up for.”

The criticism of Roethlisberger, which came not only from Brown, but also from former teammates and, mostly, national media, extended to his team, which has been viewed as an afterthought in terms of contenting for a title this season.

“Well, we didn’t make the playoffs, so it’s probably deservedly so,” Roethlisberger added. “We need to come out and prove that we can be a force to be reckoned with, but that’s only going to happen on the field.”

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