Ben Roethlisberger still has a run-pass tell in shotgun formation


The Steelers have a new offense. But they have an old quarterback. With an old tell.

During the three drives led by Ben Roethlisberger on Saturday night against the Lions, the Steelers lined up in shotgun formation 11 of 16 times. Twice, they ran. Nine times, they threw.

Roethlisberger still has a very different pre-snap posture depending on whether it’s a run or a pass. When it’s a pass, his left heel comes off the ground in the second or so before the snap. When it’s a run, his feet stay on the ground.

Twice, it was obvious that the Steelers would pass the ball because Roethlisberger had no tailback to his left or right.

It’s not just the lifting of the left heel before the snap. Roethlisberger’s entire demeanor is different (not obviously, but it’s there) when the shotgun snap will result in him surrendering the ball and ending his role in the play and when he’ll be receiving the snap and then getting to work. He moves differently, looks different before the snap, depending on whether it’s going to be a run or a pass.

Last month, evidence emerged of the longstanding tell from Roethlisberger when in shotgun formation. He should stand the same way prior to a run or a pass, in order to avoid giving any defenders who are paying attention a chance to have a split-second of advance preparation for the play to come.

It’s unknown whether opposing defenses previously were aware of the tell. They are now. It’s all the more reason for the Steelers to coach that specific tendency out of their quarterback’s game before Week One at Buffalo.

16 responses to “Ben Roethlisberger still has a run-pass tell in shotgun formation

  1. Hey man, stop making Pittsburgh aware that he’s doing this. Thanks. Signed, the rest of the League.

  2. Was that you in the James Bond movie Casino Royale, looking for the villains’ bloody eye tell?

  3. Hopefully Big Ben gets the memo. It’s hard enough to win in this league without giving the defenders an edge.

  4. He’s been doing it his entire time in the league. It’s so ‘bad’ he’s going to the Hall of Fame. Ben’s an all-time great quarterback and many people fail to realize that.

  5. No! You don’t coach it out now! You get him to turn it against the defense. They’ll be looking for it so get him to do the opposite and take a half second advantage!

  6. Yes, he has a tell that a pass is coming, but that still leaves 4 receivers the defense must account so only a 25 % chance the defense guesses pass to the chosen receiver. The real problem is when he signals run. That is much more easily defended and the Steelers run stats from the past few seasons indicate that. They can no longer run effectively.

  7. by the time the heel raises indicating a pass the defensive helmet communications have already been cut off and it is doubtful the any opposing players can see it with clarity in time to call it out.

  8. He should keep doing it and keep defenses honest. Do the opposite of whatever his tell is.

  9. Question: If Big Ben is a Hall of Fame quarterback and Tomlin is a Hall of Fame Head Coach why only 3 playoff wins in the past 10m seasons? Seriously?

  10. udub says:
    August 23, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    What if…its a preseason criss cross, he knows that we know about the tell?

    spy vs. spy

  11. And yet he is a great QB with amazing success. Wonder what his tell is for that. Maybe is his pump fake. The defence knows they are going to get beat when they bite on that one 10 times out of 10.

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