<
>

Ben Roethlisberger knows he has the pieces to succeed

AP Photo/Don Wright

You had your best season, at least statistically, 11 years into your career. When you watch the film, what’s the biggest reason for that?

Ben Roethlisberger: I see a good cohesive group that wanted to be the best it could be. That’s the primary reason.

What is it about Todd Haley’s system that seems to suit you so well?

Roethlisberger: All of it. We work well together, guys believe in it and believe in each other. That’s one of the biggest keys.

You’ve played two consecutive full seasons in a row for the first time in your career. Have you gotten smarter about when you take hits?

Roethlisberger: I haven’t changed my game at all. I think when you call plays that are shorter-routed plays -- Bruce Arians was known to go down the field and take shots. So you are going to have to hold on to the ball. We call a lot of plays that get the ball out quick to receivers. Todd Haley’s offense is a lot about catching the ball, running and putting up yards after the catch. So I think that’s what it is more than me changing or anyone changing.

Is this the best stable of weapons you’ve had around you since entering the league?

Roethlisberger: Wow. Arguably. I hate to say yes or no because I don’t want to offend anybody else that’s been here. But you look at stats from the NFL, we had the No. 1 wide receiver and the No. 1 overall back. Kind of hard to argue with those numbers.

You threw the ball Antonio Brown’s direction nearly 30 percent of the time last year. What’s your favorite route or play to throw to Antonio? Why?

Roethlisberger: Any of them. Even when it’s not what it’s supposed to be, it seems to work. I guess that means we’re on the same page. He’s a special player. Probably the best receiver I’ve ever played with.