Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will do more than change plays and switch protections at the line of scrimmage this season. He will have veto power to discard plays offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has formulated for the game plan.
It will be the first time in his four seasons Roethlisberger will have such control of the offense.
"A lot of things look good to coaches," Arians said. "It's not any good if the quarterback doesn't like it."
In a given week, Arians will put in the game plan Tuesday and script the first 15 plays and third-down plays by Friday afternoon. If Roethlisberger isn't comfortable with some of the plays when he meets with Arians the night before a game, he can tell him to strike them from the game plan.
"The confidence that he approaches his business with is very satisfying to me," Arians said. "In between practices, he's working with guys on all the little details. When you're working on the little details, it kind of tells you he has a pretty good grasp of the big details."
It won't be Roethlisberger's only new duty.
Unlike past seasons when guard Alan Faneca or retired center Jeff Hartings called out the protection changes for the offensive line, Roethlisberger will handle all the calls this season, beginning tomorrow in Cleveland. Roethlisberger said he never made those calls before, which are predicated on reading defensive formations.
"He's in charge of everything," Faneca said. "We don't make any changes to anything. Everything was all on me or Jeff or Kendall [Simmons]. Not now. It's all on him."
Coach Mike Tomlin has a daunting task in his first game in Cleveland, if history is any indication.
Since the Browns joined the NFL in 1950, no Steelers coach has won his first game in Cleveland. The list includes John Michelosen (1950), Joe Bach (1952), Walt Kiesling (1954), Buddy Parker (1957), Mike Nixon (1965), Bill Austin (1966), Chuck Noll (1969) and Bill Cowher (1992).
Quarterback Brian St. Pierre (toe) has not practiced in team drills all week and his status is uncertain for the game. Linebacker Marquis Cooper (hamstring) has not practiced and will not play.
Browns punter Dave Zastudil (back) has not kicked all week and at least five candidates were brought in for tryouts. However, Zastudil has said he expects to play against the Steelers. Guard Eric Steinbach (knee) and defensive end Orpheus Roye (knee), each of whom did not play in the preseason, are expected to start.