Blog Entry

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:24 pm
 
Posted by Andy Benoit

We never hear this about Ben Roethlisberger, but he’s one of those guys who can be described as a “better athlete than quarterback”. From a pure fundamental standpoint, Roethlisberger is not a very good NFL quarterback. His footwork on dropbacks can sometimes be iffy. His pocket mechanics are occasionally slipshod, in part because his pocket awareness is raw. Roethlisberger does not read the field well before the snap. In fact, some scouts suspect that he occasionally does not reB. Roethlisberger (US Presswire)ally read the field at all.

And yet, it’s plain to see that Big Ben is one of the best players in football. A two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback capable of posting big numbers and leading heroic late-game drives. There might not be a more feared player in the game on third-and-long.

So how is Roethlisberger, given his unrefined fundamentals and awareness, a superstar? For one, he’s a remarkable athlete. No need to elaborate – we’ve all seen plays where the 6’5”, 240-pounder bounces off multiple would-be sackers, flees the pocket, sidesteps another sacker, returns to the pocket and unwinds a side-armed bull’s-eye while falling to the ground. That’s natural talent at its finest.

What’s more, Roethlisberger is instinctive beyond belief. While most quarterbacks thrive on diagnosing and anticipating what a defense will do, Roethlisberger would rather wait, see and react. When he does this, he’s relying on his instincts rather than his intelligence. He’s the only quarterback in football who can consistently operate this way.

This wait, see and react approach is the reason Roethlisberger holds the ball so long. And it’s the reason he is so difficult to gameplan against. Normally, the Ravens, with their aggressive, complex 3-4 scheme, overwhelm a quarterback who has limited field recognition. That comes from Ed Reed. With his range and uncanny football IQ, Reed disguises coverages better than any player in the game.
 
But disguised coverages don’t always work against the Steelers because Roethlisberger does not follow the fundamental chain of reads that quarterbacks are taught to follow. Think of it like telling a lie to someone who speaks a foreign language: your lie might be crafty and well delivered, but it won’t matter because your recipient is oblivious to everything you’re saying anyway.

In the end, Roethlisberger’s frenetic style forces defenses to be reactionary. Certain defenses – like the Colts, for example – can get by on being reactionary. But the Ravens, with their thin secondary (backup corners Chris Carr and Josh Wilson are simply fill-in starters) and dependence on presnap confusion and blitzes, cannot.

Thus, it’s important the Ravens get the type of pass-rush pressure on Roethlisberger that forces him to make quick decisions. It’s not enough to simply blitz and hit him – he’ll just extend the play and work his magic. The key is getting clean rushers at him. And the way to do that is to confuse Pittsburgh’s makeshift offensive line.

Expect the Ravens to use overload blitzes and zone exchange concepts that will force the Steeler blockers to make fast reads and be athletes (neither of which they’re particularly good at). Look for the Ravens to crowd the line of scrimmage with more players than the Steelers can block prior to the snap. Upon the snap, Baltimore will create chaos with an unpredictable array of stunts, drop backs or all-out rushes after the snap. They’ll avoid doing the same thing two plays in a row. The more confused the Steeler blockers are, the quicker Roethlisberger will be forced to get rid of the ball. The quicker he gets rid of the ball, the easier it will be for Baltimore’s front seven to dictate the action.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:15 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 5:28 am
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:26 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:03 am
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

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Since: Dec 3, 2010
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:20 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Ben & Mendy should do fine the rest of the year.



Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: December 4, 2010 10:49 am
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

Zutezilla - great post.  Especially your take on Tom, Peyton, and Ben.  They are all great athletes, and intelligent.  Tom wins mostly by sticking to a game plan, and being the prototypical form passer.  Peyton truly does seem like an O-coordinator on the field.  And Ben is much more unconventional than the others - unpredictable, relying a good deal on his ability to make something happen on the fly.  
You didn't mention your own guy - you should - he belongs in the discussion.  Joe typifies Brady more than any of them in his approach.  As a Steeler fan, I can say that, besides Ben and Kordell Stewart, Flacco is the kind of QB we have grown accustomed to over the years, except he's way better than any of the other 'form' QB's we've had since Terry Bradshaw.
I always root for Baltimore over the Colts - and always will.  Who knows, you may get an opportunity to beat them in the playoffs this year.



Since: Apr 16, 2010
Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:15 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

You also have to take in to consideration the fact that Big Ben is going to be playing hurt.  More over, it's an injury that could potentially limit the mobility that he so desperately needs to make plays.  If he goes in to the game wearing a boot, i'm afraid that Pitsburgh's chances of having a reliable passing game  will greatly decrease.  I don't think that Baltimores beat-up secondary will decrease the impact Ben's injury will have on the game.

I have both Mendy and Big Ben on my fantasy roster... and for the first time since Ben came back, i'm seriously considering sitting them both (and scrambling to find suitable replacements).



Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:37 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

It was a TD...case closed.

Damn....I knew you knew at least 1 thing about football.

Thought Baltimore fans didnt whine??

All fans whine.....Obviously you haven't been into as real football discussion as of late. How many threads do you think there are with the Boo Hoo Hoos about James Harrison? don't check though...it requires football knowledge. 

Maybe you should take a step or two back.....you know, to a NASCAR thread. Einstein.




Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:31 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

"The Ravens don't have trouble against any particular teams----they have problems with particular quarterbacks."
 
What's the difference there Professor? If that QB is part of that team, then they have troubles with that team.




Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2010 3:28 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 13: Roethlisberger vs. Ravens

It was a TD...case closed.
Thought Baltimore fans didnt whine??


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