Ben Roethlisberger has a bit of a Brett Favre reputation as a gunslinger who doesn’t get to excited about the X”s and O’s. But QBs Coach Mike Sullivan paints a different picture. Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Sullivan praised the work ethic and focus on the little things Roethlisberger has shown.
“He has put in a great amount of time behind the scenes, particularly in the one-on-one meetings that he and I have had,” Sullivan told reporters via the team website. “The meetings with the quarterback group , in walkthroughs and in situations like this, it’s pretty impressive. A guy that’s 18 years in, two Super Bowl wins, future hall of Famer and he’s getting upset about in a walkthrough, he didn’t get the snap point exactly right under center with one of the fast motions.”
Roethlisberger is the elder statesman on the roster, the only Steeler with a Super Bowl ring on his resume. Watch him at practice and you’ll see what Sullivan is talking about. Someone willing to have a 15-20 second conversation with a player, often a young guy, even between reps of practice. A quarterback always willing to challenge his receivers, sometimes intentionally throwing bad passes to see how big of a catch radius his target has. And certainly, a great player to watch for young QBs like Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs, and now Dwayne Haskins.
For Sullivan, new himself after being hired this offseason, his transition to the team, working with Roethlisberger, and working in a new offense under OC Matt Canada has gone exceptionally well.
“It’s been easy from the standpoint that his attitude has been one in which he knows there are things that are new, things that he wants to master. And he’s been focused on that. And so really pleased with the progress he’s made.”
Roethlisberger showed comfort in his only preseason action of the summer, throwing two touchdowns on three drives against the Detroit Lions, leading to a perfect passer rating. With his body fresh, Roethlisberger has also shown enough mobility to work in Canada’s offense, one that will ask their QBs to play under center and throw on the run on bootlegs.
Though the Steelers hope to have a more balanced and efficient offense this season, Roethlisberger will still be the straw that stirs the drink. They go as he goes and to win a competitive AFC North, filled exclusively with first-round picks, Roethlisberger will need to come up large this season.