Just days removed from Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger speaking in an interview that essentially closed his portion of the saga between himself and former receiver Antonio Brown, the man who forced his way out of the Steel City now finds himself back to tie his own loose ends.
In true AB fashion, Brown brought a camera crew along with him to film a 14 minute video of him returning to Pittsburgh to appear in court for a traffic ticket he received during the 2018 season. Brown decided to turn his trip into a walk down memory lane, as the superstar receiver spends time taking viewers through his old house and reminisces about his days with the Steelers.
Should you have lived under a rock for the last few months, Brown did not suit up for the Steelers last game of the season and went on one of the most impressive social media smearing campaigns we may ever witness, pushing his way out of Pittsburgh and emerging with football’s richest contract at the receiving position in Oakland. Brown left many Steelers fans with a foul impression in his departure, although he made it clear it was nothing but love and respect from his end.
One thing I understand about this fan base and that I'll never forget and always appreciate is your passion. Know that it's all love this way and I am forever thankful for #steelernation ! 🙏🏾 (this is not a goodbye, just a thank u) pic.twitter.com/5mCg5pRjXL
— AB (@AB84) January 20, 2019
In Brown’s new video, he doubled down on his feelings:
“About to touch down here in Pittsburgh, close off another chapter in my life” Brown said before landing. “It’s such an honor to be here man, one of the first sports teams that took a chance on me when I was 21 years old. There’s nothing like that feeling walking in Heinz Field and feeling that…Feeling that knack for football and the exciting feeling the great fans bring.”
Months removed from the trade that sent the Steelers multiple picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, Brown appears to have matured (at least on camera) in his trip back to where his career first began. His tone carries with remembrance as Brown walked through his old house in Pittsburgh. It appears some of Pittsburgh carry the same sentiment, as numerous people outside of the courthouse where Brown appeared in stopped him to take selfies and talk during the video. The video closes with a black screen that reads “FOREVER INDEBTED, THANK YOU PITTSBURGH”.
The last handful of months have brought a lot of attention between Brown, Roethlisberger and anybody else that sports black and gold. Most of that attention, if not all, has arrived in a negative context. In regards to the situation, many Steelers fans have moved on. Big Ben himself appears ready to close that chapter of his life/career just a few days ago, and Antonio Brown looks as if he is ready to shut the door on his time in Pittsburgh by saying thank you one last time.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/25/20
It was all about wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s return and the Watt brothers at the final practice before the Steelers week 3 game against Houston.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/24/20
While it’s odd to see referees standing out in a clip of highlights, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s plan to incorporate actual refs into practice this week happened on Thursday.
Tomlin explained he is adding refs to practice to ensure his team is more disciplined, which hopefully leads to less penalties in their game this week compared to last week.
Wide receivers James Washington, Diontae Johnson and tight end Eric Ebron run routes and catch passes in this clip.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger Says Form, Mechanics Can Be Better Despite Hot Start
To hear Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tell it, he can better than what he’s shown on the field in his first two weeks since returning from elbow surgery.
He’s not happy with his footwork, he thinks he’s dropping his arm a bit and needs a more consistent release point.
The statistics, however tell another story. They say Roethlisberger has been operating at a higher level of precision than ever before. So which is it? Maybe both.
“I do feel I got a little lazy with my feet, which then, in turn, translated to a lazy arm,” Roethlisberger said. “There were some throws that I kind of dropped my elbow, if you will. I don’t want to get too technical, but it became more of a three-quarter release instead of an over the top when I didn’t need to. There are obviously times you have to change your release point. There were too many throws, I felt looking back, that I just have to get my feet working better, and that will then translate, hopefully, to the rest of the body. Then, I won’t be guiding some of the throws.”
Here’s an example from the game Roethlisberger’s form getting a little sloppy. He throws this ball flat-footed and almost all with his right side, getting less power behind it than usual and resulting in a pass that ends up behind JuJu Smith-Shuster instead of allowing him to build a head of steam toward the defenders at the line of scrimmage.
Is this a big deal here? Not really. Smith-Schuster probably couldn’t have done much better than he did at bulling over the defender, anyway. But this is also a route into the flat on the near side of the field. Over longer distances, that can make a big difference.
“I’ve gotten away with it in the past being able to not necessarily be perfect from the ground up and just letting my arm kind of make up for a lot of things, a lot of imperfections if you talk to quarterback people,” Roethlisberger said. “I feel great. I just need to get it in my mind that I can still make the throws when I’m not in the perfect position to make them.”
All of that can be true, and yet, it’s hard to argue with the results. Through two games, Roethlisberger has a 68.5 completion percentage. His career season high was 68% in 2015. In a game and a half last year, it was 56.5%.
His passer rating, even with an interception against the Broncos, is 107.1. His career season-long high came in 2o07, when he finished with a 104.1 mark. Last season before his injury, it was 66.
Some of that can be explained by a passing scheme that has take fewer deep shots down the field than it has in years past. His yards per pass attempt sits at 7.4, lower than all but four of his other 16 seasons.
Mechanical inconsistency can certainly have a greater impact on longer throws, so the Steelers’ somewhat more methodical offensive approach could be helping Roethlisberger get into the swing of things.
“Maybe some of that just comes from not playing a lot of football,” he posited. “I played two games this year. I played a game and a half last year, so really, it’s about three and a half games in two years if you think about it. It’ll come. Like I said, if I’m having these issues and we are still winning football games, that’s a plus.”
If a 2-0 record with career highs in passer rating and completion percentage is what he looks like with mechanical issues, the NFL should be very worried about what might happen if he gets into a groove.