Steelers Notebook: Roethlisberger will see action against Giants
Share with others:
Ben Roethlisberger will play a game for the first time since Jan. 3 when the Steelers visit the New York Giants Saturday night.
While coach Mike Tomlin declined to reveal his plans for Roethlisberger, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spilled the beans after practice Monday.
"Ben's going to play this week," Arians announced.
When he plays and how much still has not been revealed but Roethlisberger, who led the first team in practice Monday, will likely start against the Giants.
"I hope I get in," Roethlisberger said. "I'm not sure when. I'll take any time."
Roethlisberger expressed no unhappiness about not playing in the preseason opener Saturday against Detoit, although he said he good-naturedly bugged Tomlin "every three plays" to put him in.
Is there a need for a certain amount of time in games for him?
"I don't know if there's a need, how much do I need, whatever. I'll take whatever Coach gives me. Him and I have not talked, and he doesn't make those announcements at team meetings, so I'm sure we'll find out later in the week."
There is speculation that Tomlin will not put him into a game with anyone else but the first-team offense.
"I told Coach put me in with anybody, I don't care, I'm fine with it. I don't know that he feels the same way I do about when I should go in. But it's his call."
Tomlin and Arians also came as close to acknowledging that Byron Leftwich will open the season as their starting quarterback while Roethlisberger serves his suspension of at least four games. Until now, their actions have pointed that way but they've maintained a public stance that Dennis Dixon was competing for that job.
Instead, they revealed Monday that they have prepared special packages for Dixon, and Arians said they want to use both quarterbacks.
"We've continually worked on a package that's built solely for him not only here in training camp but back in the spring at our place," Tomlin said.
Arians called it a "normal day" at practice.
"Ben was at one, Byron at 2. Dennis has his package, it's not necessarily with the 2s or the 3s, it's a special package. When you play without Ben, you're going to utilize all the players you have. So he'll have a package, and how he plays within that package will determine how much he plays. I'm not against playing both of them."
Roethlisberger and Arians had different takes on Dixon's running ability and how he did so Saturday night against the Lions, when he ran six times for 31 yards, five of them scrambles out of the pocket.
Said Roethlisberger: "I always tell him to run. 'Pull it down; if your guy's not there, pull it down and take off.'
"He's got something the rest of the quarterbacks in the room don't have. We always joke about that. He can take off running and score on plays that most of us wouldn't even get out of the pocket on. He needs to utilize those talents he has and skills. He's developed so much in just one year and I think he's doing a great job."
But Arians was not happy to see Dixon running against the Lions' backups.
"No, because we had wide open receivers. It's fine to run when there's nobody open but when there are open receivers, get them the ball. That was their down-the-line guys out there chasing him. The front-line guys are a little faster and a little quicker. When he does break it, that's great, but I'd rather see him deliver the ball to his check-downs and other players."
Roethlisberger heard the cheers from the fans when he took Heinz Field for warm-ups Saturday night. "It's an awesome feeling to run out of the tunnel for warm-ups and hear the fans cheer. It's neat. It meant a lot." ... Two minor injuries surfaced from Saturday's game: running back Jonathan Dwyer (shoulder) and defensive end Brett Keisel (calf). Also, running back Dwayne Wright did not practice Monday because he is ill. All should return soon. ... After fumbles by Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore against the Lions, the Steelers had a "ball security" drill Monday.
First Published August 17, 2010 12:00 am