Roethlisberger: No-huddle offense likely to make comeback vs. Seattle
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs knocks the ball out of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's hands before he has a chance to throw a pass in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' season-opening loss.
Share with others:
Ben Roethlisberger experienced a rough day Sunday in Baltimore, one of the worst in his eight seasons with the Steelers. Even a broken nose his previous visit there felt better.
He tossed three interceptions and lost two fumbles, not counting another fumble on a botched handoff exchange with halfback Rashard Mendenhall. The Ravens sacked him four times for good measure as the Steelers absorbed a 35-7 thumping.
Roethlisberger had only five interceptions in the regular season last year. He has thrown seven in his past three games, counting the Super Bowl and AFC championship.
"I was talking to coach [Dick] LeBeau, and we used our mulligan on the first tee," Roethlisberger said. "We take our penalty stroke and we have 17 more holes to birdie.
"We just didn't come together, and I didn't play well. I think we're all entitled to a bad day now and then, and we move on."
One thing Roethlisberger promised to change against the Seattle Seahawks is the use of the no-huddle offense. The Steelers did not show it in Baltimore; they will Sunday in Heinz Field, he vowed.
"Yeah, I'll make sure of that. We need to. We didn't do it at all the last game. We kind of throw a lot of things out the window when you're getting killed like that. I know people are probably making a big deal that we didn't run the ball enough. I think we'll see [the no-huddle] this week."
Casey Hampton did not complain, but he did confirm what his teammates had been saying -- that Baltimore targeted the Steelers Pro Bowl nose tackle with illegal chop blocks for much of the game Sunday.
An illegal chop block occurs when an offensive player engages a defensive player -- blocking him, usually straight up -- while another offensive player comes in to block the defensive player below the waist.
It is considered one of the most dangerous blocks, which is why it has been illegal for a long time. A defensive player's knees are more vulnerable to severe injury in such a double-team.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons blew the whistle on the Ravens Tuesday night on his WDVE radio show, and Hampton and linebacker James Farrior confirmed it. Hampton said Baltimore center Matt Birk and the Ravens' two guards, Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda, were using the illegal blocks all day. He said he did not complain to the officials about it.
"It is what it is, I don't cry about stuff like that," Hampton said.
"They were doing it a lot or trying to do it a lot. At times, I got out of it. It's kind of tough when you're engaged with a guy, and you're not even worried about the guard and they come and just chop your legs out. That's kind of tough. There's nothing you can do about that."
No penalties were called on the Ravens for illegal chop blocks.
"They were doing it all day," said Farrior, the Steelers defensive captain. "That's pretty bad."
Whatever the Ravens did legally or illegally, it was effective. Ray Rice became the first back in 18 games to top 100 yards against the Steelers with 107, and the Ravens piled up 170 yards rushing on a defense that was No. 1 against the run last season.
Those 170 yards were 15 more than the Steelers allowed in three postseason games in 2010. They led the league last season by allowing 62.8 yards rushing per game, the third fewest since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
Jeffrey Gilbert is a retired secret service agent. Among his final jobs before retiring was to protect presidential candidate Barack Obama. Steelers fans might think Jeffrey's son, Marcus, has an important new job as well, protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Marcus Gilbert, a rookie second-round draft pick from the University of Florida, practiced with the first team at right tackle for the first time Wednesday. He will replace Willie Colon, who was placed on injured reserve after surgery to repair his torn triceps Tuesday.
"Whatever the game plan is, I'm going to run with it," Gilbert said. "It feels really good running with the first team."
Gilbert, who responded to a stern talk by former Gators teammate Maurkice Pouncey after he reported to training camp overweight and out of shape, heard two more this week. One came again from Pouncey; the other from Roethlisberger.
The quarterback said they will change nothing on offense because the rookie will play right tackle, make nothing simpler. It's sink or swim for Gilbert.
"I told him on Monday, 'Listen, not only do you need to learn this offense, you better have the no-huddle down pat because we're going to do it and I'm not slowing down for you.' I have confidence he'll be ready to go."
Gilbert reported to training camp at 348 pounds and missed about a week with a hamstring injury. Pouncey told him he better shape up.
"I basically told him it's a lot different than college now, you're not getting pampered all the time, you have to go in here and be accountable for all that you do."
Gilbert's hamstring healed, he lost 15 pounds and showed his coaches he could play. It is a reason they did not pursue Flozell Adams after Colon's injury, although they did take a brief call from his agent, Jordan Woy. Gilbert, who said he stands closer to 6 feet 7 than his listed 6-6, said he weighs 333 now.
Without fanfare, the Steelers waived WR Limas Sweed off their injured list this week without giving him an injury settlement. The team announced Aug. 17 that they released and placed Sweed on the waived/injured list. When he cleared waivers, they were required to keep him on their injured reserve until his shoulder healed. ... Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), who missed the opener, did not practice Wednesday. Neither did offensive left guard Chris Kemoeatu, who had his left knee drained of fluid and is expected to practice Thursday. ... Cornerbacks Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and rookie Curtis Brown (ankle) were limited in practice.