Over the weekend, Steelers safety Ryan Clark said during an appearance on ESPN that he thought quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had to alter his approach to the game because the team couldn’t afford the sacks and turnovers that can come when Roethlisberger tries to extend plays.
Clark was asked about the comments on Wednesday and made it clear that he wasn’t saying Roethlisberger alone was the reason why the team has lost its first four games. He also made it clear that the quarterback has to be part of the solution as well.
“We need to protect Ben. Defensively, we need to make plays so Ben doesn’t feel like he has to do everything. Offensively, we need to protect him so he can get the ball out. The receivers need to get open. The running backs need to run the ball,” Clark said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But in that as well, he needs to understand that, as constructed right now, we aren’t playing well enough as a team to where we can take sacks and have turnovers. That’s a team solution, but the quarterback has to spearhead it.”
Anyone who has watched Roethlisberger over the years knows that his ability to maneuver and extend plays has kept him from being sacked a lot more often than he would have been if he was less adept at keeping plays going. Changing something so crucial to his success over the years isn’t in the cards, though. Roethlisberger said it was fine that Clark felt that way, but that he felt differently.
“It is what it is. I’m just going to play the game the way that I play it and try not to turn it over,” Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers resume their quest for win No. 1 on Sunday against the Jets.