On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers continued OTAs—with Day 4 punctuated by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger meeting with the media to discuss everything from first-round pick Najee Harris to the offense being installed by new coordinator Matt Canada.
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Most notably, perhaps, Roethlisberger was asked how the new offense will be different—and how it can be “less predictable” than it was in, say, 2020.
“I think this offense is going to be completely different. You’ll see nothing that you’ve ever seen in the past. We are going to try and throw literally everything at everybody so that way we won’t be predictable,” he said, unable to resist being a little facetious.
“But in all seriousness, there is a lot of ‘new’,” he added, admitting that “for someone who has kind of had a very similar offense for a long time … it has taken some extra studying, but it’s a fun new challenge and guys are getting it and hopefully it translates into winning football.”
Ben Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh’s Offense-Oriented Draft
Roethlisberger also noted that he’s excited about how the team devoted a lot of premium draft capital to the offensive side of the ball, spending its first four picks on a running back (Najee Harris), tight end (Pat Freiermuth), interior offensive lineman (Kendrick Green) and an offensive tackle (Dan Moore Jr.).
“It’s been a while since we’ve gotten so many weapons early on,” he said with a smile.
Later in the session he elaborated about what he’s seen from first-round pick Najee Harris, saying, “He’s a really hard worker and he’s in here extra-long. I think the other day [our] running back[s] coach told him, ‘Hey, Najee, I have to go home now.’
“He doesn’t seem lost. It’s not too big for him. His head’s not spinning,” added Roethlisberger. “The most exciting part is once he gets it and it clicks and he goes full speed, man, it’s going to be something to see.”
The New No. 53
One thing Roethlisberger is not used to seeing is someone other than Maurkice Pouncey wearing a No. 53 jersey.
“Trying to make me cry here? Talking about Pounce?” he said, per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, after Pouncey’s name came up.
He admitted that it’s strange to have a No. 53 [rookie third-round draft pick Kendrick Green] snapping the ball to him and knowing it’s not Pouncey.
Yet he emphasized how he is looking forward to playing at least one more season for the black & gold, saying one of the reasons he wanted to come back is the talent that surrounds him.
“I knew we had a great defense and some amazing weapons on offense so I wanted to come back to be a part of what I think is going to be a special football team that everyone is overlooking,” he said.
As for the possibility of 2021 being his last season in the NFL, he reiterated that confronting his football mortality hasn’t caused him to change his approach.
He also reiterated that he can’t see himself playing for any other NFL team.
“I’m black and gold through and though,” he concluded. “I didn’t want to go anywhere. I want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere else. This is home to me.”
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