We don’t often get to take a look into the world of an injured player. They get hurt, they rehab, they come back. That’s about the extent of it.
But Ben Roethlisberger gave a glimpse into what his rehab process was like last week and how he wound up as the backup to Landry Jones.
Appearing on The Cook and Poni Show today, Ben said he started the week off in a boot and on crutches. By Tuesday, he was able to shed both and “walk on the side of his foot.”
Wednesday is the biggest gameplan day for teams. And according to Ben, he missed most of the meetings.
“On Wednesday, I went in and it was pretty much just rehab. I didn’t sit in a lot of the installation meetings. I was downstairs rehabbing, trying to make sure I got it right. I spent a lot of time with John Norwig and Garrett Giemont.”
Ben said he did “very little” with the offensive gameplan in practice on Thursday, mostly working with the scout team as Landry Jones soaked up the first team reps.
On Friday, Roethlisberger was again forced to again miss most offensive meetings while he got treatment on his foot sprain. By then, according to Ben, Mike Tomlin had already made the decision to start Jones.
“Coach Tomlin kind of said, ‘Landry’s going to go, he’s getting all the reps on Friday.’ And that’s important. He was more mentally ready to play the game than I was.”
Of course, the plan quickly changed in-game after Jones left with an ankle sprain on the Steelers’ seventh play. Roethlisberger came in and played excellent in relief but as Tomlin noted after the game, the Steelers went to a lot of no-huddle to make up for what Ben lacked in knowledge of the gameplan.
The idea makes sense and something I figured was the case. Roethlisberger was deemed healthy enough to play but simply wasn’t ready above the shoulders for the game because of the time he had to dedicate to getting healthy. It’s a reminder of how detailed and technical gameplans are. Even for a franchise quarterback and a vet in the league like Ben, it doesn’t mean you can just absorb a gameplan in a night. This isn’t cramming for that English Literature midterm in college.
Roethlisberger told the show he would “absolutely” be ready to take on the Seattle Seahawks in two weeks following the Steelers’ bye.