Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stated the obvious on Thursday when he said he expects to play Sunday night in the team’s third preseason game of 2019. The veteran quarterback said Thursday that while he isn’t quite sure how long he’ll play against the Tennessee Titans; he knows there’s value in him getting whatever playing time he winds up getting
“You know what, there is I think some value, especially because every game counts in the NFL, right? Roethlisberger said. “I think in all the other major sports you can get away with losing some games and you can kind of warm up to it, if you will, because they’re so long. With our season, you can’t really afford to do that. So, to get out there and get the actual game speed and stuff is definitely beneficial.”
Roethlisberger, however, also recognizes that playing in a meaningless preseason game.
“I do think it’s a line that you walk though of not doing too much for risk of injuries, whatever else may come with that, Roethlisberger added.
NFL coaches are essentially in a no-win situation when it comes to playing their starting quarterbacks, or any starter for that matter. for instance, if a head coach plays a starting quarterback and he gets injured, he’ll be heavily ridiculed for putting the player in harm’s way in a meaningless game. Conversely, if a starting quarterback is held out the entire preseason and then gets off to a sluggish start in Week 1, the head coach will be ridiculed for not getting the player some preseason snaps. On Thursday, Roethlisberger was reminded about the damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario that I essentially just laid out.
“Yeah, and that’s the fine line a coach walks but, you know, and say you played a little bit in all four games and you don’t play sharp in the opener, there’s always going to be something,” Roethlisberger said. “And you just got to hope that if you don’t play sharp enough in your opener, you play well enough to win.”
Roethlisberger was later asked on Thursday to reveal how it’s decided how much he’ll play in the third preseason game and if head coach Mike Tomlin allows the quarterback to have any say in the matter.
“He pretty much tells me what he wants me to do,” Roethlisberger said. “Sometimes there have been times when he’s told me that I’m done and I want one more series because it wasn’t quite, you know, we didn’t finish the way we wanted it to or whatever. But he, 99.9% of the time, overrules me.”
The Steelers quarterback was also asked Thursday if he every envisions himself ever not playing any during a preseason or him not wanting to play during a preseason.
“Gosh, I mean body-wise, physically-wise, yeah, I’d be fine with it,” Roethlisberger said. “But typically, it’s short enough you don’t get hit. And I think for a quarterback, too, you want to feel that one hit because it’s been since the last game of the year. You know, most of these guys get at least thudded around and hit a little bit and I don’t. So that first one always hurts a little more so you kind of want to get it out of the way early.”
Finally, Roethlisberger asked Thursday if he’s ever felt in past years that he hasn’t gotten enough playing time during a preseason.
“Boy, I don’t know, I mean there’s been a lot of seasons, right?” Roethlisberger said. “You know, it’s like I said, it’s just a matter of I think when you’ve got a good veteran group, you know, we know the line, we know the guys. They’re obviously some younger guys, or newer guys, outside at receiver, but we’ve been getting in so much work in that I don’t know really that live-game stuff is gonna change that. It’s just a matter of, you know, we just keep continuing to work in practice is just as good to me.”
Last year during the Steelers third preseason game he played the first three offensive series before exiting and in 2017’s third preseason game he only played the first two series, 16 plays in total. In summation, we’ll likely see Roethlisberger play at least two series Sunday night against the Titans and maybe as many as four. Regardless, we should see him play some Sunday night, right?
“I mean, I’m pretty sure I am, unless something changes last minute,” Roethlisberger said.
Tomlin will hold his pre-game press conference Friday afternoon and at that time he’ll likely make it official that Roethlisberger will start Sunday night and how the quarterback rotation might go from there.