PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger doesn't scramble as much as he used to, but that's in part because the scrambling isn't necessary. The Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback lets his arm strength guide each play. He made a few throws in this year's practices that looked like they came straight from the pitching mound. That 50-yard attempt he threw to Markus Wheaton to open the Denver game Sunday was five yards over Wheaton's head, the sign of an amped quarterback with a huge arm.
So it's no surprise how Roethlisberger answered when asked during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan Pittsburgh about his offseason goals.
Roethlisberger feels he's playing his best football, and he wants to preserve it.
"For me, I want to keep my arm strong," Roethlisberger said. "I felt like it’s been, last year and this year, the strongest it’s been. I’m going to keep working on arm strength and quick release. That’s key to being successful at the quarterback position."
The arm strength has aided Roethlisberger's accuracy. His completion percentages of 67.1 and 68.0 the past two seasons were the best of his career. Part of that is offensive coordinator Todd Haley's system being friendly to Roethlisberger's skill set, but Roethlisberger certainly deserves credit for those numbers.
Roethlisberger's exact methods for arm strengthening are uncertain. Throwers can improve their arm with refined mechanics, upper-body-specific stretching, core workouts and Jobe exercises for shoulder strength, among many options. Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the 2014 offseason that he planned to work rigorously with a personal trainer.
As the Steelers navigate the process of turning a very good team to a great one, keeping the heater fresh is crucial, especially as Roethlisberger turns 34 in March and played through a separated shoulder during the playoffs.
What will help Roethlisberger is improved protection. Roethlisberger mentioned this on 93.7, citing the impact of offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Roethlisberger's ratio of 1.66 sacks per game in 2015 was the best of his career.
"I feel like I’m playing my best football," Roethlisberger said. "That’s a big credit to the guys around me."