Despite Clark's comments, Roethlisberger to keep playing same style
By Alan Robinson
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 2:48 p.m.
The captain of the Steelers' defense thinks the captain of the Steelers' offense needs to change the way he's playing.
The offensive captain's response? Ben Roethlisberger is going to be Ben Roethlisberger, no matter what Ryan Clark thinks.
With the Steelers (0-4) still winless as mid-October approaches, there was bound to be some internal restlessness. It finally surfaced when Clark suggested Roethlisberger cut back on his improvisational playmaking because he is taking too many sacks (15) and committing too many turnovers (nine).
Clark emphasized he isn't trying to single out Roethlisberger but rather is identifying a team-wide problem.
“We need to protect Ben. Defensively, we need to make plays so Ben doesn't feel like he has to do everything. Offensively, we need to protect him so he can get the ball out,” Clark said Wednesday. “The receivers need to get open. The running backs need to run the ball.
“But in that as well, he needs to understand that, as constructed right now, we aren't playing well enough as a team to where we can take sacks and have turnovers. That's a team solution, but the quarterback has to spearhead it.”
Clark was expanding on weekend remarks he made to ESPN in which he said, “You to have to protect Ben against Ben. Right now, we have to tone Ben down in a sense and say, ‘Hey, right now, we're not a good enough football team for you to try to extend plays, for us to take sacks, for us to have turnovers.' ”
The Steelers are minus-11 in giveaways/takeaways, second worst in the league to the Giants' minus-13.
Roethlisberger, only rarely subjected to public critique by one of his teammates, responded diplomatically as the Steelers resumed practicing for Sunday's game at the Jets (3-2).
“It is what it is. I'm just going to play the game the way that I play it and try not to turn it over,” said Roethlisberger, who has been forced repeatedly to manufacture plays because of his offensive line's pass protection breakdowns.
Asked if he appreciated a teammate reviewing the way he plays, Roethlisberger said, “That's the great thing about the country we live in. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and allowed to say what they want. If Ryan feels that way, then that's fine.”
Coach Mike Tomlin effectively defended his quarterback Tuesday by saying, “It (the improvisation) depends on the circumstances and situations. Obviously, sometimes game circumstances dictate that you take calculated risks.”
Tomlin is attempting to shore up Roethlisberger's spotty pass protection by benching left tackle Mike Adams for either Levi Brown or Kelvin Beachum.
Clark, often the most outspoken player in the locker room, insisted he wasn't trying to create any kind of rift on a team that doesn't need one. He explained he was responding to Roethlisberger's own remarks that he tried to create too much during the 34-27 loss to the Vikings on Sept. 29.
“When you articulate very well, and are well thought out in what you say and make a lot of sense, sometimes people try to twist it into something else,” Clark said. “When I say things, it's going to be black and white. There's no need to try to make it into anything else or make it like I'm talking (badly) about Ben.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Steelers’ Worilds signs transition tag
- Steelers create cap space by re-signing Polamalu, Miller
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Steelers use transition tag on LB Worilds