WR’s, RB’s, TE’s and…P&W’s

August 19th, 2014 by

(that would be Pizza & Wings!)


“Wheaton: ‘Every week is huge’”

From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:

aug202014_1Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes what he is seeing from Wheaton who right now is the team’s starter opposite Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown.

“He’s learning and growing fast. And we need him to,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s what is great, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He is busting his butt every day in practice.

“I grabbed him upstairs and talked to him about something that he did a little wrong in the game. He had nothing to do with the play but he was heartbroken that he screwed something up that he probably shouldn’t have. He puts in that work. He’s watched Antonio and knows what it takes to be a pro.”

Last year wasn’t what Wheaton had hoped from his rookie season, hampered by finger injuries that required surgery. While he played in 12 games, he finished with just six receptions for 64 yards and no touchdowns. But the potential was there, and after a strong offseason was slated as a starter during training camp.

“As of now I am in the position, so it’s my spot to lose,” said Wheaton. “I want to improve on everything so I want to make sure I am capable of holding down the position, that they have full confidence in me when we get out on the field. I still have a week or so to do that.

“I think I have a long ways to go, especially after watching the film I think I have a long ways to go. I made a good play in the game; Ben made it easy for me. I feel like I need to improve on everything. I want to be a good all-around player. I want to improve on everything out there.”


You can read more here.



“Big Ben challenges rookie wideout”

From Scott Brown, ESPN.com:

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned a question about Martavis Bryant into a challenge for the rookie wide receiver.

“He needs to get in his mind that he can help us and that he’s going to push it hard on every single play like the guys ahead of him are doing,” Roethlisberger said. “If you watch Antonio Brown, he scores on that second play [against the Buffalo Bills last Saturday] because that’s how he practices. Every day in practice when he catches a slant he’s going to score even if guys touch him down.

“That’s how he practices and that’s how he plays and that’s what transitions into big things like that. As a young guy [Bryant] needs to keep learning from the veteran guys, and I think he will do that because he wants to be a great receiver.”

Bryant has all of the physical ability to succeed at this level, and the fourth-round draft pick could give the Steelers’ offense something it has rarely had with Roethlisberger at the controls of it: a tall wideout who can really run.

“What [Bryant] can bring is kind of what Plax did, a big body down the field, guys have to respect that speed,” Roethlisberger said. “I think if he can get to Plax’s level we’ll be happy with that.”

Roethlisberger said Bryant is nowhere close to that yet, which is why he is pushing the Clemson product and not coddling him.

When asked if he would like to get some work with Bryant Thursday night when the Steelers play the Philadelphia Eagles, Roethlisberger said, “He’s got to earn his way up into the first group. We’ve got guys right now ahead of him on the depth chart that are playing at a high level. So he’s really going to have to bust his butt. If he can prove that he deserves to be there then we’ll give him all the reps he wants.”


You can read more here.



“Big Ben making no-huddle a tasty test”

From Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

aug202014To make sure his new receivers as well as his new running backs and tight ends were up to speed with the no-huddle offense, Roethlisberger created a training camp quiz this summer to test their knowledge. Next week, the top three “losers” must buy pizza and wings for the entire offense.

“I bring the running backs, receivers and tight ends in, and we give them hand signals,” Roethlisberger said. “They have to write down what the play is called and what route they have.”

Roethlisberger would not say who might be buying dinner. He said five players are vying to stay out of the top three. It’s his way of keeping camp interesting while making sure the new guys know the no-huddle’s signals.

“I feel comfortable doing that because I know we’re going to do [the no-huddle] this year and I want guys to be up to speed on it,” he said.

The Steelers will play their third preseason game Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. Roethlisberger expects to play the first half and would like at least one series of no-huddle.

“I’d like to get a little more road work, see if we can do no-huddle on the road, which is usually a little different,” he said. “Whether we do or don’t, I don’t know. That’s the good part about getting at least one series of no-huddle on the road, because the communication is a little tougher.”


You can read more here.

You can also watch video of Ben’s interview here.


Best way to spend a Saturday night!

August 18th, 2014 by

Fans emailed and tweeted their photos from the Bills vs Steelers game at Heinz Field to share with us:

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Left to Right:

Mardee DeSantis @MardeeDeSantis
@_BigBen7 @steelers My boy is so excited to be at the game with his daddy! #gosteelers #goben #cpcantstophim

Jennifer Schropp @JaiLynnPhoto
@_BigBen7 with the North Allegheny & Bethel Park kids at last nights game! Such an honor to photograph the night.

“My grandson Christian made it to his first Steeler game vs. Bills.” – Tom Melnik, Bulter, PA


You can see the full-size images here.



Dr. Ronald Cypher shared his collection of pre-game shots as well:

ws1
That last one could sure use a caption! Any takers?


You can see all of his great photos here!



A special SHOUT OUT to a BIG Ben & Steelers fan…

Long-time followers of Ben’s site are familiar with Richard Culliver! He has graced our pages more than a few times over the last couple of years, and has received so many well wishes and prayers from you!

Well, he and his family could certainly use as many prayers as you can send, Steeler Nation!

“Life is so hard and so unfair. My sweet boy is soon to be completely healed. He as a new tumor lower in his brainstem and it’s taking him very quickly. My sweet wonderful beautiful boy is soon to be an angel watching over Rheagan Devin and I.” – Richard’s mother, Stephanie.


Please take a moment and visit him on Facebook at Richard’s Journey.


“Steelers starters crisp in 19-16 win over Bills”

August 17th, 2014 by

From Will Graves, Associated Press:

081614_Bills_Preseason_1Ben Roethlisberger needed all of two series to reach the end zone twice on Saturday night.

At the rate EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills are going it might take a month to reach that total.

Maybe longer if they don’t have dynamic rookie receiver Sammy Watkins.

The latest rebuilding process remains a work in progress in Buffalo. The Pittsburgh Steelers offered a glimpse that theirs might already be done.

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 76-yard score on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and found Markus Wheaton for a 16-yard score as the Steelers edged the Bills 19-16 for their first preseason win in nearly two years.

“I think we came out and started fast,” Brown said. “We got some things going in a positive direction.”

Working almost exclusively out of the no-huddle, Roethlisberger finished 8 of 11 for 128 yards and the two scores. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal as time expired ended Pittsburgh’s five-game losing streak in exhibitions.

“The communication was what I wanted to work on and we didn’t have any mental errors of what I saw so far,” Roethlisberger said.


Bob Labriola @BobLabriola
Ben’s stats: 8-for-11, 128 yards; 2 TDs, 0 INTs, Rating of 150.8



Roethlisberger, working with an offense he insists can be one of the more potent in the league, hit Brown in stride on Pittsburgh’s second play from scrimmage and the Pro Bowl receiver ran away from a pair of defenders on his way to the end zone.

“It was a great read by Ben,” Brown said. “The defensive back got caught up with another guy. Ben hit me in the spot and I was able to get up to speed and turn the corner.”

The Steelers got the ball back moments later when Shazier — who missed the preseason opener with a right knee injury coach Mike Tomlin called a “boo boo” — showcased why Pittsburgh took him with the 15th pick in the first round.

Shazier stepped in front of Manuel’s pass intended for Scott Chandler and returned it 27 yards to the Buffalo 37.

The play highlighted a frantic half of play for Shazier, who finished with 11 total tackles in addition to his pick.


You can read more from from Mr. Graves here.

You can see a few more photos here.



Just in case you missed the game…

NFL Network will air the replay at 12 noon ET today!


Benjamin, Jr. checking in with Steeler Nation

August 15th, 2014 by

Hi everybody! Hope you’re enjoying your summer.

I’ve been kinda busy myself! Dad told me to take care of mommy and Baylee while he was at training camp, and that’s just what I’ve been doing!

I’ve been keeping my toys picked up (mostly), taking my naps without complaint (pretty much), and I’m trying really hard not to run like a crazy man in the house. I’m also giving mommy lots of hugs.

August2014
And sometimes I even give my baby sister her morning bottle and a little kiss on the forehead…

Uh, mommy? Do I have to wait til’ she finishes the whole thing?

Dad, I hope you’re coming home soon!! I can’t keep this up anymore! This “man of the house” stuff is a lot of work!!!”



You can see more of our family photos here!


Training Camp: News, Notes & Quotes

August 14th, 2014 by

“EJ Manuel pays close attention to Ben Roethlisberger”

From Matthew Fairburn at the Syracuse Post-Standard:

081414The Buffalo Bills have a vision for what they want to be.

They want to be a tough, physical football team that depends on their defense and running game to win. They want to give their young quarterback — who has a big arm, can move his feet and is a handful to bring down — a chance to succeed by surrounding him with talent. Most of all, they want to get back to the playoffs and snap a 14-year drought.

In other words, they want to replicate what the Pittsburgh Steelers did early in Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Yes, a Super Bowl is a lofty target for the Bills, who have gone 6-10 in each of the last three seasons, but general manager Doug Whaley spent time in the Steelers organization and wants a few things to rub off on his current team.

“Their toughness and their idea that nothing less is expected than a championship,” Whaley said. “That’s what we’re trying to get to.”

Whaley has a particular vision for his second-year quarterback, EJ Manuel. He thinks he can be the Bills’ version of Roethlisberger — a big, strong-armed quarterback with some mobility. So Manuel was paying extra attention to the Steelers’ quarterback on Wednesday to see how he prepares and how he handles himself.

“It’s huge,” Manuel said of practicing with Roethlisberger. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Big Ben. Growing up in Virginia, it’s not too far from Pittsburgh, and obviously early in his career he took those guys to a Super Bowl, so like I said earlier, to get an opportunity to come out and practice with him is awesome.”


You can read more from Mr. Fairburn here.



“Ben Roethlisberger relishes teaching role”

From Scott Brown, ESPN.com:

081414_1The most hands-on training camp of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s career ends Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers break camp after spending the last three weeks at St. Vincent College.

That doesn’t mean that Roethlisberger will stop going over painstaking details with his wide receivers or surrender his duties as a de facto coach when the Steelers start practicing at team headquarters next week.

“It’s been fun it’s something that I need to do and want to do.” Roethlisberger said Thursday after the first of two joint practices with the Buffalo Bills. “The coach can tell them what they’re supposed to do but if I tell them what I want them to do it’s a big difference. It’s been a good [camp] in that sense.”

Roethlisberger said he’s never coached the wide receivers as much as he has this camp, and it makes sense that he has assumed even more of a leadership role. Roethlisberger is entering his 11th season and has never had more ownership of the Steelers’ offense. He is also working with a wide receivers unit that is generally young.

Just as Roethlisberger has high hopes for that group, he is also pleased with how the offensive line has come together in camp.

“They have just such a cohesiveness as a unit,” Roethlisberger said, “and it’s something special.”


You can read more from Mr. Brown here.


You can see more photos from training camp here.

And check out the photos from the Steelers Home Run Derby here!


#ALSIceBucketChallenge

August 13th, 2014 by

Arizona Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians challenged Big Ben to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge yesterday…


ALSChallenge
and not only did Ben accept the challenge today, he did a little a competitive challenging of his own:

BA, I accept your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! I challenge Merril Hoge, Triple H, and Kevin Hart! – Ben



You can check out video of Ben’s challenge here!

And you can learn more about the #ALSIceBucketChallenge here!


Starkey: Roethlisberger rooting for ‘bud’ Jim Kelly

August 13th, 2014 by

“I just feel blessed to call him a friend.” – Ben of Jim Kelly.



From Joe Starkey, at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

BenJimThe Steelers and Buffalo Bills are sharing practice fields this week in Latrobe. But for franchises separated by just 220 miles, they have shared precious little meaningful history.

But the cities’ most meaningful football connection might be one that binds a pair of iconic and similarly rugged quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger and Jim Kelly.

Their connection, at least from Roethlisberger’s end, goes back more than 20 years. It has taken on new meaning of late, given the personal transformations of each and Kelly’s harrowing but inspiring bout with cancer.

The relationship began in the form of a young Roethlisberger, 22 years Kelly’s junior, taping a No. 12 Kelly poster to his bedroom wall in Findlay, Ohio.

“I tease him about that all the time,” Roethlisberger says.

Fast forward to Roethlisberger’s first few NFL seasons, when his linebacker-like approach and laser-like precision late in games evoked images of Kelly in the Bills’ famed “K-Gun” 15 years earlier. Have there been any star quarterbacks in the past quarter-century who endured more punishment — invited more punishment — than these two?

They finally connected in person early in Roethlisberger’s career at Kelly’s golf tournament in Buffalo. Roethlisberger traveled early and stayed at Kelly’s house. They bonded immediately. Roethlisberger soon was making annual treks to Kelly’s lodge in Ellicottville, N.Y., where the two would hunt, fish, ride snowmobiles and talk shop.

“For a Hall of Famer to come down to my level, if you will, just meant so much,” Roethlisberger says. “He’s a guy I can call when things aren’t going well. I’ll get notes from him after games, good and bad: ‘Keep your head up.’ ‘Great job.’ To have someone like that I can call a friend? That’s first and foremost. And I think he’d say the same thing: He looks at me as a friend.”

BenDanJimThe Kelly family (Jim, wife Jill, daughters Erin, 19, and Camryn, 15, plus a large extended clan) gifted the world by publicizing Jim’s battle. An image of Erin clutching her father’s arm in his hospital bed went viral. It and other photographs, articles and television pieces speak to the suffering, devotion and cruel tests of faith families experience in such times, when the blessings and curses often roll into one.

“I can only imagine what Jim and his family are going through,” Roethlisberger says. “I’ve stayed in touch through phone messages and calls. The last time we talked was after the Hall of Fame ceremony. I shot him a note and said, ‘I know it wasn’t easy for you to be up there, but you looked good, bud.’ It’s tough to see such a tough, strong guy go through that.

“I know the family, and it’s emotional to see them do these pieces. But that’s who they are,” Roethlisberger says. “Their faith is so important to them, and I think the girls and Mrs. Kelly will tell you that they kind of got Jim on the right path. It’s changed his life. He’ll tell you that.”


You can read the rest here.



If you missed Ben on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show this morning…

“For me it’s about being cerebral. Early on it’s about first read. If it’s not there, find your second read and then just start making something happen and run around, whatever it is. Now I think it’s understanding more of offenses and defenses, what play goes against what defense and being able to look into your third and fourth reads.” – Ben, on the difference between his rookie days and now.


He was also asked his thoughts about on-field fighting between teammates during training camp; if he thinks the shorter practices (no 2-a-days) affects the performance of rookies; his advice to rookie quarterbacks; his comfort with the return of center Maurkice Pouncey and more.


You can listen to the entire interview here (bottom of page).


Steelers Preview: The Greatness of Ben

August 12th, 2014 by

Mike Prisuta @DVEMike
Snapshot from St. Vincent: Ben Roethlisberger seems to be enjoying his time on the practice field during camp.



MikePrisuta_wsFrom SI writer Andy Benoit, for MMBQ.com:

Over the years, football fans have pretty much agreed on which top-tier veteran quarterbacks fall on which tier. The first tier generally includes, in no particular order, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. The second tier: Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. And then there are the talented but inconsistent gunslingers who float from one tier to another, guys like Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler.

The star quarterback people can’t seem to firmly slot is Ben Roethlisberger. Fans all agree he belongs on one of these tiers. In fact, he seems to fit on all three.

The truth is, Roethlisberger belongs on that first tier. He’s 2-1 in Super Bowls, has a career winning percentage of .669 as a starter and, most importantly, his on-field performance verifies his on-paper accomplishments.

Roethlisberger doesn’t quite look it, but upon close examination he’s one the most physically gifted quarterbacks in football—if not the most physically gifted. His ability to shed would-be sackers is one thing; his ability to do it multiple times and then gather himself enough to make not only a downfield throw, but a sharp and accurate downfield throw, is otherworldly. His unconventional playing style can make his golden arm easy to overlook.

While he’s always been great out of structure, Roethlisberger in recent years has also become very good within structure. The 32-year-old will never be a full-field progression read passer—he has too much natural inclination to improvise. But he’s no longer heavily dependent on his freestyling, thanks to improved awareness in the pre-snap phase.

Roethlisberger now operates in a Todd Haley scheme that emphasizes pre-snap decision making. Examples include Pittsburgh’s expanded shifts and motions, plus the quick receiver screens that have become a staple.

Roethlisberger’s relationship with Haley has been highly scrutinized, though both insist they’re on the same page now. Which is one reason we can expect the Steelers to rebound from a second consecutive eight-loss season. Some believe Roethlisberger actually had the best season of his career in 2013. If this club is to become a Super Bowl contender in 2014, he’ll need to be even better.


You can read the rest here.


Eli to Ben: ‘Can you believe it’s been 10 years already?’

August 10th, 2014 by

From William Perlman at the New Jersey Star-Ledger this morning:

081014As the players gathered at the 50-yard line after the Giants’ 20-16 win in the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night, Giants quarterback Eli Manning met up with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the two spoke at length and exchanged pleasantries.

The two were drafted in 2004.

“Can you believe it’s been 10 years already?” Manning asked Roethlisberger.

The two smiled and wished each other a good season.


You can read the rest here.



The Game:

081014_1Ben played only one series, a seven-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a Shaun Suisham field goal to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead. He was 1 for 2, with a 46-yard completion to rookie running back Dri Archer.

“I thought it was a good, solid first series,” Ben said. “Obviously, it helped that we had a huge play to Dri. But we moved the ball down the field and got points on the board.”

Bruce Gradkowski replaced Ben in the first quarter. He went 8 for 12 for 66 yards.

Second-year quarterback Landry Jones was 11-of-21 for 74 yards.

Although the Steelers ultimately lost to the Giants 20-16, Coach Tomlin took some positives away from the game.

“We had an opportunity to grow. We learned some things about some people. We’ll just take this as part of the process and move forward as a team.”


You can see photos from the game here.


*The game will be re-played on NFL Network today at 12 noon.


Ben: “It never gets old putting that Steelers uniform on”

August 8th, 2014 by

Ben stopped for an interview with the KDKA Morning News team when they checked in at Latrobe this week…

And the first thing that Larry Richart and John Shumway asked about were the little Roethlisbergers:

080814“Baylee is doing good, so is Benjamin. He’s being a good big brother – most of the time. Every once in awhile he gets a little jealous, but he’s good…He doesn’t slow down, we’re working on not running so much. Every day is something new – a new word, a new facial expression, whatever it is it’s just a joy to see.”


Ben talked about Steelers great Joe Greene, Coach LeBeau’s stories, their first Ravens game in Week 2, and how he is looking forward to this weekend’s upcoming game against the Giants:

“The guys get tired of hitting each other and it’s always fun to put the pads on and put the jersey on. For a guy like me, that’s been doing it for a while now, it never gets old putting that Steelers uniform on and for some of the young guys, it’s probably a dream come true.”


You can listen to audio of his interview, as well as catch interviews with Ike Taylor and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert all right here.



Tweet of the Week:

Antonio Brown @AntonioBrown84
“@Dukie__Breath: @AntonioBrown84 who’s your best friend on the team?” @_BigBen7



Check out:

Pittsburgh Dad’s latest episode from Steelers Training Camp here!


MAGAZINE/BOOK ALERT!

WHAT: Nothing at this time
WHEN:
WHERE:

EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

WHAT: The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation Fundraiser
WHEN: Sunday, June 22, 2014
WHERE: Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, Warrendale, PA
TICKETS: Get them in advance here.

EVENTS/APPEARANCES!

WHAT: The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation Invitational
WHEN: Monday, June 23, 2014
WHERE: Treesdale Golf and Country Club, Gibsonia, PA
TICKETS: Get them in advance to play in the tournament (foursomes only) here.

 


2014 STEELERS SCHEDULE

 

8/9 Pre-Season – NYG Loss: 20-16
8/16 Pre-Season – Buffalo Win: 19-16
8/21 Pre-Season – @ Philadelphia 7:30PM KDKA
8/29 Pre-Season – Carolina 7:30PM KDKA
9/7 Cleveland 1:00PM
9/11 @ Baltimore 8:25PM
9/21 @ Carolina 8:30PM
9/28 Tampa Bay 1:00PM
10/5 @ Jacksonville 1:00PM
10/12 @ Cleveland 1:00PM
10/20 Houston 8:30PM
10/26 Indianapolis 4:25PM
11/2 Baltimore 8:30PM
11/9 @ New York Jets 1:00PM
11/17 @ Tennessee 8:30PM
11/24 BYE N/A
11/30 New Orleans 1:00PM
12/7 @ Cincinnati 1:00PM
12/14 @ Atlanta 1:00PM
12/21 Kansas City 1:00PM
12/28 Cincinnati 1:00PM