Starkey: Steelers president out of bounds'
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Oh, to be a fly pattern on the wall when Ben Roethlisberger sits down with Steelers president Art Rooney II to discuss the future of the team's offense.
Will the Steelers adopt the Rooney-n-Shoot?
Will they go back to three Arts and a cloud of dust?
Not that I expect the conversation to turn ugly. I didn't hear any hostility in Roethlisberger's voice when he spoke at the Pro Bowl the other day. He simply expressed a desire to "go up to Mr. Rooney's office" and talk.
That seems reasonable in the wake of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' "retirement" and Rooney's assessment that Roethlisberger needs to "tweak" his game.
It's not like Ben is going up there with a gun. But if I'm him, I'm armed with a couple of game tapes -- the Kansas City win, for example, when he made a dozen miraculous plays merely to stay upright, let alone find a receiver -- and a few pertinent questions.
• What are you going to do with the $3.5 million left guard who can't pass block and keeps putting us at 2nd-and-20• How about you tweak that ?
• Who's going to protect the blind side?
This organization's best thinking resulted in Jonathan Scott manning the left-tackle position to start the season. Trai Essex spent time there, for goodness sake. They finally pulled a guy off his couch to take the job and were lucky Max Starks was in such good shape.
What an insane way to protect a $102 million investment.
Second-year tackle Marcus Gilbert might make the switch from right to left, but what's the backup plan with Starks now a free agent coming off knee surgery?
Rooney is right that Roethlisberger, nearing 30, must take less punishment. But it's a delicate balance because no quarterback works better off contact.
Roethlisberger's size and ability to extend plays are what make him unique -- and nobody is going to change his swashbuckling style.
Now, maybe he could slide once in a while and quit making tackles on interceptions. But the "get rid of the ball" mantra is a bit worn. Roethlisberger knows how to play the pocket rhythm game. Check the New England tape from Oct. 30.
The most logical way to reduce quarterback hits is to improve the line.
Meanwhile, the coordinator shakeup represents an interesting litmus test for Rooney, whose nine-year tenure has been a smashing success. He has not yet explained his role in the Arians ouster, dancing around it with such dexterity that Hines Ward should lend him the Mirror Ball Trophy for a month.
In an interview on the team's website, Rooney was asked the following: "Bruce Arians retired, and there are reports out there that you are the guy who retired him. What's your take on that?"
Replied the Art-ful dodger: "I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant. The key now is that Mike (Tomlin, the head coach, remember him?) has begun the search for our next coordinator, and he'll do a good job of finding the right person."
The "right person" should be aware that the team president apparently has definite ideas of what he'd like to see when the Steelers break the huddle.
Presumably, he will convey those ideas to Big Ben.
Maybe this is normal. Maybe Tom Brady is breaking down game tape with Patriots owner Robert Kraft even as we speak. Maybe Eli Manning and Ann Mara are crafting the Giants' game plan for the Super Bowl.
Or maybe meddling Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is proof that owners should own, coaches should coach, and players should play.
On the other hand, an owner who knows when to pick his spots can buoy a franchise. Which is precisely what Rooney's father, Dan, did when it came time for the Steelers to make their first-round pick in 2004.
As Dan Rooney recounted in his 2007 autobiography, "Our people seemed to have focused on Shawn Andrews, a big offensive tackle from Arkansas, as our likely number-one pick.
"But when our turn came, I couldn't bear the thought of passing on another great quarterback prospect the way we had passed on Dan Marino in 1983, so I steered the conversation around to Roethlisberger. After some more talk, we came to a consensus and picked Roethlisberger."
Pretty good move.
We'll know soon enough if the son has the father's magic touch when it comes to tweaking the offense.
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.
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Increasing pressure on QBs will be offseason focus for Steelers
- Steelers sign punter Wing to 1-year extension
- NFL names sportsmanship award after Steelers founder
- Steelers mum on national report involving head of security
- Steelers’ Rooney says both teams should use same footballs
- Steelers notebook: Opponents for 2015 are released
- Steelers sign CFL defensive end Lemon