STEELERS – WEDNESDAY
By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said before practice Wednesday that he apologized to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, head coach Mike Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II for the storm the he created and caused with post-game criticism of the club’s play-calling.
During his post-game interview after the Steelers lost in overtime Sunday at Dallas, Roethlisberger basically said that the team should have thrown the ball to tight end Heath Miller more often in the second half and should have used the no-huddle attack more often as well. A national story quickly developed about a perceived rift between Roethlisberger and Haley.
“I let my frustrations jump out after a game,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “I don’t usually do that. Usually, I keep it under control, so it was just frustrations on myself. I’ll be better at that. It comes from just wanting to win, truthfully. It comes from just wanting to do anything to win football games.
“And it comes from knowing how good the players are that we have, so it was just a lot of frustration. But, like I’ve said, I shouldn’t have come out. But that’s my fault. … We do have a lot of talks behind closed doors about things. About plays. Play-calling. If I’m doing something that’s not right on the field.
“Everything,” Roethlisberger added. “Coach Tomlin and I meet every Monday to talk about the game and what went on. So, just the frustration after a loss and feeling like it was my fault that we lost, things boiled up. I just want to win the game, however we can win the games and win championships.”
Roethlisberger also was asked if he and Haley see eye to eye.
“Obviously, there’s times when we don’t, but we get that ironed out,” Roethlisberger said. “But I’m sure it’s the same for every player and their position coach. There’s just going to be times when you don’t see eye to eye.
“There are times when I don’t see eye to eye with Coach Tomlin, but that doesn’t mean anything, I don’t think. I’m sure there’s times when you all don’t see eye to eye with your bosses at times. So, it’s nothing that’s a big deal. You work it out. You talk about it, and you get it figured out.
Miller has never been a complainer or self-promoter, and he offered a different view of the situation.
“I was a little bit surprised with how things have blown up after Ben’s post-game comments,” Miller said. “It’s just the way games unfold sometimes, but you probably could pick things out like that in every game and make it a point of controversy. The bottom line is that we lost the game.
“Guys were frustrated, and guys were upset that we lost. It was a big game for us, but fortunately we still have an opportunity. … Look, I understand the ways that games unfold. I might get targeted zero times in the first half this week and a few times in the second half or maybe none at all the whole game. It just depends on how the game unfolds, but I don’t worry about that stuff.”
Wideout Mike Wallace offered his two cents.
“You know, you’ve got to get along, because that’s the two main guys on our offense,” Wallace said. “Everything goes through those two, so you definitely need to have a great relationship between them.
“But some people made more of that than it really is, because I think they have a good relationship. And I don’t have a problem with it.”
The bottom line for the Steelers is to win football games, and Roethlisberger believed the club was ready to meet that challenge.
“Mentally, I believe we’re ready to go,” Roethlisberger said. “We know the importance of what’s ahead of us, and we understand the importance of this week in particular.”
Whether the Steelers can stay on the same page in this game is another story.