Titans Want to Get Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger on Ground



NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Jurrell Casey remembers his first encounter with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

In his rookie season, the 300-pound Titans defensive lineman busted into the backfield, and hit Roethlisberger solid.

"And I bounced right off of him," Casey recalled on Tuesday. "It felt like he didn't budge at all."

So Casey wrapped him up again, and got him to the ground. He hopes to do it again on Thursday night when the Titans face Roethlisberger and the Steelers. But Casey knows it's not always easy even when defenders get their hands on the 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback.

"I have seen millions of times him slipping out of sacks," Casey said. "My first sack on him I hit him, and had to rewrap him up to get him down. He's a big dude. And the thing is he doesn't try to scramble when he gets away. He stays in there and tries to throw it. You just have to hit him with all your force. He's definitely a tough cookie in the pocket."

Roethlisberger has been sacked just 11 times this season.

The Titans, who have 14 sacks as a team, know all about the dangerous weapons Roethlisberger has around him, from running back Le'Veon Bell to receivers Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster.

Getting to Roethlisberger – and getting him down -- will be key.

"We have to corral him," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "He has a Cam Newton body type, and it's difficult to get him down. You have to do a good job of gang tackling him.

"When he gets away and throws it out of bounds or to the play-making receivers he has, that's the frustrating part. You see it time and time again. When you get there, you have to finish it."

Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, meanwhile, will do his best to make things difficult for Roethlisberger with pass rush and coverage. Safety Kevin Byard would love for interception No.7 to come in Pittsburgh.

But as much as anyone, LeBeau knows it's not easy.

As a former defensive coordinator with the Steelers, LeBeau spent a lot of years coaching against Roethlisberger in practice.

"Well, if I knew the key to stopping Ben Roethlisberger I'd have won a hell of a lot more games than I've won," LeBeau said. "Nobody's really stopped him. But we're going to try to stop him and his teammates from dominating the game, keep the score in touch and give our guys a chance to win, the same thing we do every week that we go out there.

"To show him something that he hasn't seen before, I think that's an impossibility. But we'll try to disguise and try to make him read us after the snap. He's a great diagnostician. He really can take a look at you and find out where you're going, and it's part of the reason he's been so successful."

Titans Online looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. (AP Photos)

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