Big Ben to OL: play with some swagger

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers’ maligned offensive line has no bigger public supporter than Ben Roethlisberger.

Privately, the Steelers quarterback has told the linemen he wants them to believe what he says about them.

And Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show Tuesday that he will continue “preaching” to his personal protectors that they need to play with more swagger and attitude.

“I need them to (believe) that they are good,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. “There’s a reason why they’re here.”

Roethlisberger touched on a number of different topics on his radio show. Here are some noteworthy items.

• Addressing the ban on younger players shooting pool or playing ping-pong or shuffleboard during working hours, Roethlisberger said the veterans did not want the youngsters to get too comfortable and think they are entitled to success based on what they did in college.

“You can’t just get it handed to you,” he said.

When asked why not just remove all games from the Steelers’ locker room, Roethlisberger said they serve an important function. They promote team-building among offensive and defensive players who sit in different meeting rooms throughout the day.

“I know it sounds silly,” Roethlisberger said, “but that’s what it’s about.”

• Roethlisberger said a review of the Steelers’ 40-23 loss reinforced his belief that his two lost fumbles weren’t a result of careless play but rather the Bears swiping at the ball at just the right time.

Roethlisberger said his reputation as a quarterback who is hard to get on the ground has teams going for the ball more and more when the pocket starts to break down. Roethlisberger said he always keeps the ball in a position where he can throw it when he starts to scramble.

He didn’t sound like he is going to change his style despite the fumbles against the Bears. But Roethlisberger said he will be more mindful of protecting the ball when opposing tacklers start whacking at it.

“The killers (in the Bears’ loss) were the turnovers. I can’t let that happen,” Roethlisberger said. “I want to be ready to throw at a moment’s notice. Sometimes to a fault.”

• Roethlisberger sustained a cut on his right hand Sunday night when someone stepped on it or when he banged it on a helmet while throwing a pass. But Roethlisberger said other than dealing with some blood the cut did not adversely affect him.

“It will be fine,” he said.

• Roethlisberger’s first pass of the game against the Bears went to Heath Miller, and the veteran tight end caught it for a 6-yard gain.

Roethlisberger said when the Steelers broke the huddle he knew he was going to Miller no matter what.

“I wanted to get him back in and get him involved,” Roethlisberger said. “It was great to have him back out there. Heath’s only going to get better as he keeps practicing and playing.”