Wed, 27 Oct 2021

Ben: 'We all need to be better'

The Steelers
23 Sep 2021, 06:30 GMT+10

Teresa Varley

Ben Roethlisberger smiled when asked if it hurts when he laughs after injuring his left pectoral muscle against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

"I actually can do that okay," said Roethlisberger.

But there was pain on Sunday after he suffered the injury, something he isn't certain how it happened, but knows it came early on.

"I don't know how it happened. I just know it happened early in the game," said Roethlisberger.

And there still is pain.

"Typically when I reach for something outside the framework from my body, or trying to push up, get up off the ground or something like that," said Roethlisberger of when he feels it. "I haven't thrown a ball since the game. You have a lot of adrenaline going during the game."

The Steelers return to the practice field on Wednesday, and Roethlisberger didn't indicate what it will take for him to feel comfortable to play this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.

"Today's only Wednesday, so we have a lot of time to get ready to go," he said.

Roethlisberger took his share of hits against the Raiders, with two sacks but also a handful of other blows, something he knew could be the case with the Raiders pass rush.

"We knew going in they had a good rush, high motor guys who were going to get after it," said Roethlisberger. "You have to prepare for that. But we all need to be better to eliminate hits, to have a better run game, to have more big plays, to be more efficient. It's on all of us to help with those things."

Roethlisberger pointed to a combination of things to get the offense going and address the laundry list he mentioned, which include the newness of the offense, as well as new players in key positions. But he also pointed the finger right at himself.

"I tell the guys, no one has to be great. If we're all good, then collectively we can be great," said Roethlisberger. "Offense is such a group effort. It takes literally all 11 guys every play to make it work. When one guy's a little off here or there, it can affect the whole thing. We're just going to keep learning and growing and figuring out how we can try and get better."

Two new players Roethlisberger is gaining a good rapport with are rookies Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth. Harris scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday, a 25-yard reception where he fought his way to the end zone.

"I thought Najee's touchdown was exceptional," said Roethlisberger. "It kind of got overlooked because of all the after the play stuff, but what a great route and then the effort to get in was awesome. I wish we could have all enjoyed it a little more. And then at some point in that game, third quarter, I kind of went to Coach and said we need to get Pat involved over the ball, some of that shorter area stuff.

"Truthfully, we've got a lot of what I think are really good weapons on the outside, from receivers to tight ends to running backs that I don't think we've really gotten anybody that have had good games. There's a lot of reasons for that and I'll take the blame, mostly because I'm the one that has to get the ball to them."

As the leader on the offense, with things not clicking just yet, it's Roethlisberger who is the one who talks to players, gets them going. It's not about telling them what they need to do as far as X's and O's, but making sure they have the right approach every time they hit the field.

"What I can do is just try and emphasize how important it is to play for your brother, to play for the guy next to you," said Roethlisberger. "Doesn't matter that you can go out there say, well I did my job today. But if we didn't win the game and you didn't help the team win, then it shouldn't matter. If it does, then you kind of have the wrong mentality for this ultimate team sport. You've got to go out and do your job, but you also have to understand that collectively we have to do the job together. Sometimes that's the best way I can try and help young guys, is just helping them to understand that it's more than just what you do, it's how did you help the team today."

It will take not just all 11 on offense, but everyone with a helmet on Sunday to get back in the win column. And while Roethlisberger said there might be a 'little bit' of urgency, there is no panic as they sit at 1-1, along with the rest of the AFC North.

"Maybe a little bit (of urgency), but we still have to walk a line, careful not trying to do too much," said Roethlisberger. "You know we're not panicking. It's only the second week. We're 1-1, we lost to a team that's 2-0 and it was a one score game till the end. It feels like a bad feeling, a bad loss, but we understand it's real early in the season. Everyone in our division has the same record, so we're going to get ourselves together and get ready to go."

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