I’m betting Ben Roethlisberger’s comments on, well…everything except for what I’m writing about will dominate the headlines. And hey, as it should. But Roethlisberger has some interesting insight to new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, beginning his first year in that position, while also serving as the QBs coach.
As an offensive coordinator, Roethlisberger praised the hire – no surprise there, given their good relationship – and thinks Fichtner will thrive as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. And in that sense, having that dual role, can be good for the offense as a whole.
“It’s a very interesting dynamic and I think a good one,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan with Ron Cook and Andrew Filliponi. Our room isn’t going to change. We’re still going to meet in there, we’re going to meet together. Our quarterback meetings are now like our offensive meetings.”
But to the specific development, beyond the macro-look at the offense, could be hindered by Fichtner’s responsibilities to the offense. And for a room that has two young guys, Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs, that may present an issue. Roethlisberger hinted as much in the same breath.
“You’re speaking about young guys. Is Randy going to be able to spend time developing young guys? Probably not as much as he would if he wasn’t the OC. I think that’s a natural understanding. His first priority will be game planning and being the OC.”
Roethlisberger floated the idea of bringing in someone like Charlie Batch or Bruce Gradkowski to focus on the quarterbacks, though cautioned he had no idea if that was something actually in the works. It wouldn’t be a shock though; they brought in Hines Ward to work closely with the wide receivers in Latrobe last year and he still spent time with the Steelers throughout the regular season.
Batch and Gradkowski have both taken media jobs. Batch is a color analyst for KDKA during Steelers’ preseason games. Gradkowski is in the same role for his alma mater, Toledo.
There certainly will be plenty on Fichtner’s plate. But he’s worn many hats before, in that dual role in college and has been the wide receiver and quarterback coach at the NFL level.
It’ll be hard for us to determine how successful the transition is and any negative effect on the young quarterbacks. But if the Steelers bring in a QB “consultant,” that’ll be a clue into their evaluation of the process.