Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger held a press conference following practice Wednesday. Here's a breakdown of of the franchise QB's comments about how his team is performing and preparing this season.
How difficult is it to go back-to-back road games?
It’s not that big of a deal.
Re: What has surprised you about JuJu Smith-Schuster:
I don’t know what surprised me. You see him work and see him go about it. I can’t say anything surprise me.
What stands out about him?
Just that typically when new guys come into this League they can surprise people, they sneak up on them. Whatever you want to call it, so you kind of give a year grace period to see how teams will respond or individuals will respond to that first or second year of good play. He has not just bounced back but exceeded what he did last year so he just gets better every day.
Your reliance for him continues to grow every day?
That’s faith and trust. Just believing and understanding that he is going to be in the right spot and make plays for me.
Did JuJu Smith-Schuster come in with that work ethic or is that something he learned here?
He’s had it for two years, so I assume it’s just kind of the way he is. So, no he’s always worked like that.
Do you think the rookies that are more of route runners and speed guys pick up more quickly?
Well I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I do think college football offenses are ruining players, especially quarterbacks, because it’s just a different kind of offense. But you look at guys like James Washington. He played on one side of the ball and I am sure his route tree wasn’t as in depth as it is here, so he’s really had to take a lot of steps and learn how to play both sides and learn how to run every route in the tree. So, I think it definitely could be hard for young guys coming in but the more precise you are in college, the more routes you run in college, obviously the transition will be easier.
What does it mean that you passed John Elway in career yards and then passing him in fourth quarter comebacks in a regular season?
That is why I wear seven because of him, a hero of mine growing up. Anytime you get into the record books it’s humbling. It means a lot when your name is as close as his, and then when you pass him it’s just an honor.
Did you get a chance to know him over the years?
Have you met him and how did it go?
Do you get a special feeling when playing in Denver because John Elway played there?
That’s a special place because of the history, because of him, and we’ve had some history there as well. Any time you go into a place that had a legendary type quarterback that I grew up watching, it’s kind of special.
Next week is alumni weekend, do you get to see some of the guys, especially the ones you played with?
I hope so. I did with Super XL. I got to see a lot of guys, so I am hoping to see them and hang out a little bit. There are still quite a few guys I keep in touch with, so it makes you feel really old when they are doing alumni weekend but you are still playing.
Was there anything that stood out in that 2008 season?
That game. It’s hard to think of anything else when you have that game to remember and those plays. That play to Santonio [Holmes] is something I will never forget.
When you go to Denver are there certain games you want to channel in terms of the memories?
The championship game is a special one. Obviously losing the one there means a lot, too. That championship game was unbelievable.
Re: the offensive line being effective with injuries to starters:
Well I’d probably say it starts with coach [Mike] Munchak, coach Shaun Sarrett. I think that is a special group anyway. They are all so close, they have their inside jokes, they’ve got their group text that they are always on, just everything. They’ve been together for a while, that helps and when you have five guys that have played together for a few years now. Anytime a young guy gets infused into that, it’s a lot easier to transition them in and help them. I think there are a lot of factors.
Are you confident about Chukwuma Okorafor blocking Von Miller?
Listen, nobody can really block Von Miller to tell you the truth, so we’ll have to put a couple guys over there. We are not going to be crazy and make one guy do it. We’ll have to put a couple guys over there because he and [Bradley] Chubb are pretty special.
What is working for the offense from an adjustment standpoint?
Well we always say we want to start fast. That is one of our big goals is starting fast but the only thing better than starting fast is finishing strong and truthfully that is the most important, finishing strong. Whether it is in-game adjustment, no quit, desire, heart, whatever you want to call it. We just never stopped fighting.
What fuels you in terms of motivation? Is it the fast start or the strong finish?
For me personally, it’s just not playing well because you talk about fourth quarterbacks, right? You get on this list of fourth quarter comebacks but I always joke that usually that means you stunk it up the first three quarters so I need to play better early.
Did you talk back to the Jaguars?
You never do that?
So, it must have been extra satisfying to win?
Oh yeah, for sure, to hold that ball at the end. I might have said something but I didn’t.
You are 15-1-1 on the road in the last 17 road games, are you guys superstitious at all?
Only when we get asked about it.
So it’s not like I am going to eat the same breakfast every day?
No, honestly, I used to be superstitious when I was younger playing. I think growing up in high school or college you get those things but the older I get the more I understand. Like my faith, if you have a faith-based life, and you believe in God and all these things then superstition isn’t really real.
What allows this team to have success on the road?
I don’t know. It’s almost one of those you are going into the lion’s den, everyone against however you want to say it. You just have to be uber focused and I guess we’ve been doing that recently.
What there anything you picked up from John Elway in terms of mannerism or things he did as a superstitious kid?
No, I joked that he could throw a ball through a car wash and it wouldn’t get wet. He just has such a big arm, not really a runner, but would run. I think that’s kind of been my game, I am not a running quarterback, but you aren’t afraid to run and get the yards when you need to. So, those kinds of things just molded my game. I wish my arm was as strong as his though.
Why do you think you are running more this year?
Because I’ve gotten faster at my old age [jokingly].
Your son wants a James Conner jersey. Is that something Santa will deliver on?
I don’t know. He’s wrote the letter to Santa, so we’ll see. It was pretty funny that he was saying that. Today is my son’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Benjamin. But my youngest son now does everything his brother does so now he wants to be James Conner, it’s pretty funny.
Transcript provided by the Pittsburgh Steelers.