Conference Call: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger



(on being healthy enough to play  by Sunday)

Well, we will do our best. We will just take it day-by-day and kind of see how it goes. If it's just a pain tolerance thing I'm going to be out there. I can deal with pain, we just want to make sure that structurally it's sound and we give our team the best chance to win.

(on if he is still in a walking boot and for how long) 

I am in a walking boot still…I can get around without it on, it's a little painful, but it's more of a precautionary thing for walk throughs and to be out on the field. I'm going to throw a little bit today, just individual type stuff so we will see how it goes.

(on wearing two different shoe sizes)

Well it looks like I'm going to be going with kind of the same concept we did last year of one size bigger with a steel plate in the bottom, so my left shoe will be different than my right shoe this week.

(on getting some offensive linemen back from injury this week)

Anytime you can get guys back, whatever position it is, it's a great thing. When it's your linemen, the guys in front of you that are blocking for you, it's always a great thing.

(on in if the increase in sacks allowed has to do with the rotating linemen)

Well I think we have a lot of factors that contribute to it and I think that's a good thing. No one is pointing any fingers at anybody, I will point some at myself and take a lot of the blame for the sacks and me just trying to make plays. The guys know that, I have talked to the linemen about it and to not take the criticism too harshly and too hard on themselves because it's not on them, it's on me. 

(on if Max Starks will be able to contribute like he has never been away)

It's a good thing, he has been here for eight years so it's not like we have done anything dramatic since he has been gone. It will be a good thing that if he is in football shape, there is a difference between being in shape and being in football shape, if he is in football shape and can contribute then I think we will use him, but that's obviously the coaches' call.

(on which of his potential right tackles he feels most comfortable with)

Any of them, I feel all three of them are very capable. I obviously know two of them better than the young guy but the young guy is showing that he can play extremely well. 

(on if having a rookie RT in Marcus Gilbert has made him roll left more and what Marcus has done to impress him)

No, I think Marcus (Gilbert) has done a tremendous job. He has been doing great things, especially for a rookie. I think (Maurkice) Pouncey kind of set the bar for offensive linemen, especially here and a Florida guy. Marcus Gilbert has done a tremendous job and we just ask him to keep doing what he is doing and playing well…He is very athletic and he has had to go against some great defensive ends and the two sacks that he has given up really were just extended plays where I kind of got of the pocket and his end continued to rush and ran about 40 yards around so you can't really hold him accountable for that, that's more on me.

(on what James Harrison's absence will mean to the team)

Well he is a league Defensive MVP, he is a phenomenal football player and it's a missing piece that's going to hurt, but those guys will find ways and new players will step up. That's one thing we pride ourselves on here in Pittsburgh is that when one guy goes down, the next guy steps up and performs even better.

(on what kind of message it sends that Coach Tomlin is having them practice twice in pads this week)

I don't know, that might be a message for some of the younger guys, I don't know. We have so many veterans on this team it doesn't matter how we practice, we know what we have to do and how we have to bounce back and prepare ourselves. 

(on what stands out when he watches the Titans defense)

What doesn't, they are a really good defense. Obviously, you have got to find 31, (Cortland) Finnegan. He is a really good player, he is all over the field, they really moved him inside a lot and I think for them it really starts up front though. They have a very good D- line that really has high motors and gets after the ball.

(on what the Titans are doing well on defense stopping short yardage plays)

It seems to be penetration, whether it's speed, whether its size, whatever it is, they seem to be getting into the backfield and stopping plays short.

(on what the Titans defense is doing differently this year)

Last year I only got to watch the game, I didn't get to watch much film on them, but it seems like they are trying to play a little more zone in the secondary where before they were doing a lot of man stuff. I think a lot of it is just personnel guys, guys that can get after the quarterback or the ball carrier.

(on Matt Hasselbeck making the adjustment to a new offense and having success)

Well he has been in the league a long time. I know a lot quarterbacks who have made jumps and adjustments from teams, so it doesn't surprise me too much.

(on if there is any reason that Nate Washington may be off to the best start of his career)

I think that any time you get a year longer in the league, things slow down and you start to understand things. Nate (Washington) was always an awesome wide receiver, one of my favorites around here. I was sad to see him go but I'm glad he is blossoming somewhere 

(on the hit he took at the end of the Texans game and if he thought it was dirty)

It hurt…If you can ever find me saying that someone hit me dirty, I would give you a Snickers bar. I don't ever complain about those things I just go play the game because it doesn't do anything to go complain. I have played with broken bones so if I complain, it's not like the next week the officials are going to start throwing flags. It doesn't do any good to complain, so I just play the game. 

(on how the pain in his left foot compares with the pain from his right foot last year)

Well they are a little different, last year I had a broken bone outside of my right foot. That was my plant foot, so every time I dropped back to pass or anything I was aggravating that. It's a broken bone, so that doesn't feel so good. This one is a sprain and a bone bruise and structurally it should be good so it's just dealing with pain. It's not quite as bad but anytime your foot or something that you are walking on, every time you take a step it hurts and that's not a fun thing.

(on his philosophy on playing a rookie QB)

I think it depends on your team, what you have in front of him, what kind of team you are, what kind of quarterback is ahead of him, are you a run team or are you a pass team, or how good is your defense. I think there is a lot of little keys that play into that scenario and each team has to figure out which way they want to do it. You look at Aaron Rodgers who sat for a while and has succeeded and blossomed into one of the best, so I think it can be done either way and it depends on the personality of that quarterback.

(on how crucial this game is to get back on track)

You always want to win games, we lost a close game on the road against a great team. That happens, we are 2-2, and we are only one game behind the best team in the AFC. We always of course want to win and it's really nice to be at home. We are playing against a great Titans team we just have to be ready.

(on if anyone still talks about the towel stomping incident in Pittsburgh)

No, we don't. We let that deal with itself.

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