After Thursday night’s loss to the Vikings, Roethlisberger made it clear that he doesn’t believe it’s his place to hold accountable Claypool or any other players who do things they shouldn’t do.
“It’s not really my job,” Roethlisberger said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com. “To me, that goes up to Coach Tomlin. That’s what he needs to do. That’s his job as the head coach. As the quarterback, it’s my job to help manage what we do on the field. Dealing w/ player issues . . . that’s the coach’s job, not mine.”
That’s a complete abdication of the leadership responsibilities inherent to playing the position quarterback. Either it’s a sign that Roethlisberger has checked out as he plays out the string, or it’s conclusive proof that he was never a leader.
It’s also a slap at Tomlin for not getting through to Claypool. For all the faults and flaws of receiver Antonio Brown, Tomlin spoke to Brown’s better angels — and kept him from surrendering to his worse impulses — for most of his time in Pittsburgh. Brown never would have done what Claypool did last night, contributing to the wasting of 14 critical seconds by celebrating a first-down catch and then not realizing why a teammate was trying to get the ball from him, so that it could be put in place for the next snap.
Tomlin has failed to get Claypool to do at all times what he needs to do to help the team win. Although Roethlisberger should be trying, Tomlin is the one who ultimately should be succeeding. As to Claypool, Tomlin isn’t. And the best evidence is the fact that the Steelers didn’t have another crack or two at the end zone on Thursday night.