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Big Ben on no-huddle, second-year QBs

11/26/2013

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger has long thrived in the no-huddle offense, and the Steelers quarterback provided some insight during his weekly media chat into why he is such a big fan of the attack.

“I think the game of football is a chess match between coordinators. We're just pawns playing it and trying to do what they tell us to do,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday afternoon. “That's why the no-huddle is effective in my opinion because I'm calling things as I see them out there where offensive coordinators have to call the play off of tendencies or what they think is going to happen. Same thing for a defense. Obviously audibles can happen and things. It's not easy being a coordinator and we as players just try to go out and execute to the best of our abilities.”

Talk steered toward the no-huddle -- it has been a big reason the Steelers take a three-game winning streak into Baltimore on Thursday -- after Roethlisberger initially answered a question about overhyping young quarterbacks, something he cautioned about in the offseason.

Roethlisberger said last May that it was too early to make stars out of quarterbacks who had thrived in their first season as starters.

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick made such starting quarterbacks one of the biggest storylines of the 2012 season. All have scuffled to varying degrees this season, none more so than Griffin.

Roethlisberger said he is not surprised by their respective struggles.

“I just think the media is so quick to put these guys on pedestals,” Roethlisberger said. “It's nothing against them. I wish people would back off giving them so much hype because it's hard. Once you can prove it a couple of years in the league, then you can start getting that [attention].

“Defensive coordinators are so good and defenses are so good they're going to figure you out eventually. You've got guys like Coach [Dick] LeBeau and you're going to tell me a one-year guy is going to be able to outwit Coach LeBeau? It's nothing against those guys, I think it's just the level of expectation put on them early. Defenses adjust to players, I believe. The first time you see a player you don't know what to expect.”

Lack of familiarity is about the only thing that will be missing when the Steelers visit the Ravens Thursday for an 8:30 p.m. game.

Both teams are 5-6, and their second meeting this season is a de facto elimination game in the AFC North. The loser all but drops out of the running for the division title and also falls behind in the race for the AFC's second wild-card playoff berth.

Not that Roethlisberger would talk about the ramifications of the game or about how the Steelers' three-game winning streak has saved their season.

“Honestly we're 0-0 right now,” Roethlisberger said. “There's no hot streak, there's no win streak, there's no loss streak. We're looking for out first win this week. We're just trying to get one win and that's all that matters.”