When you’re as big as Ben Roethlisberger is—he didn’t get his nickname just because of his first name—and you can naturally throw the ball as well as he is, you may develop a tendency to rely upon your natural abilities, by and large. If your mechanics are naturally sound, it may even have an averse effect on your performance to tinker with them.
So the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback has never been known to be one to toil away in the offseason on his fundamentals, working with private coaches and things of that nature. He often talks about how he doesn’t even throw the ball much in the offseason, which might be a good thing if he throws it nearly 700 times in regular-season play. The only time he’s worked with an outside quarterbacks coach was in 2010 when he was suspended for four games.
He did reveal to Chris Simms recently one thing that he has come to pay attention to as he gets older, and that concerns flexibility. Roethlisberger, now 37, made many of the biggest plays of his career because he was able to withstand a pass rush and may a play once the coverage broke down. That becomes harder to do as your mobility diminishes.
“I think for me, it was spending the offseason, because I’m getting older, keeping flexibility”, Roethlisberger told Simms of one area he wanted to work on this offseason. “I think so much with flexibility translates into pocket movement and getting out of the pocket. I’ve never been a runner, but I’ve been able to escape and do things, so as you get older, I think your knee drive doesn’t get quite as high, your hips get a little tighter. So I’m trying to stay flexible so I can get those five-, six-, seven-, eight-yard runs when I need to”.
Roethlisberger did work with a physical trainer—not a coach—for the first time recently, and he reported to camp in 2018 in the best shape that he had been in many years. That probably helped him throw a league-leading 675 passes, but he also ran more, gaining the most yards with his legs since 2013, and his three touchdowns scrambling are tied for the most he has ever had in his career, going back to the Super Bowl season of 2005.
He is committed to playing through the 2021 season after signing a two-year contract extension just prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. He will be 39 by the time that contract is up. So it’s good to see that he is being more proactive than he ever had before in trying to preserve himself physically beyond each individual season.