Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went on SiriusXM radio toward the end of last week to discuss a variety of topics. One subject that came up—courtesy of show host and former quarterback and teammate Bruce Gradkowski—was the idea of quarterbacks feeling the need to get the ball to certain players a certain number of times.
Like, you know, Antonio Brown, who if not named in this piece would be the elephant in the room. We know that Antonio Brown wanted the ball, a lot, because he said it. We saw the tantrums that he threw on the field and on the sidelines when he wasn’t getting the ball, especially in certain situations, or even on poor passes that came his way.
“I think there’s a fine line a lot of quarterbacks walk, especially when they’ve got talented guys”, Roethlisberger said when referring to the idea of needing to appease your playmakers to a certain exten to keep them happy and keep them productive and contributing for you.
“Sure, there’s a lot of quarterbacks out there that feel the need to spread the ball around, that need to get someone a catch and need to get them kind of into the game, if you will”, he went on. He started to bring up JuJu Smith-Schuster, and said, “obviously he’s done some great things in his first couple of years, but you don’t get any of that from him. Like, you know, he’s got to have the ball”.
Roethlisberger also mentioned Donte Moncrief, the sixth-year veteran and the only wide receiver on the team with more catches, receiving yards, or receiving touchdowns. He mentioned that he’s new to the team, and the group is also full of young players.
“So having a bunch of guys that I think just want to be out there and it just help contribute and win, make makes it a little bit easier, takes a little pressure off me”, Roethlisberger admitted. “Not necessarily needing to get so and so the ball at this point or throw this guy the ball here, or run the ball here, or throw the ball here. But once again, it is just OTAs and minicamp and we haven’t gotten to the heat of the battle yet, so that might change it a little bit as we get going”.
It should be pointed out that, especially with the latter remark, the quarterback’s comments were intended to be conveyed in a somewhat light-hearted manner. Nevertheless, I do see this turning into a debate in which Roethlisberger loses on both sides—either for talking about needing to get Brown the ball, or for basically admitting that he felt he had to.