Big Ben looks and sounds different this time

Super Bowl week always presents me with opportunities to sit down and talk with some of the people who make the NFL go. This year has been no exception.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger gave me and my radio partner, Tim Ryan, 20 minutes to just talk football. My impression of Roethlisberger in this Super Bowl, as opposed to his first three years ago, is of a much more mature, relaxed young man who’s better prepared for the second experience.

We talked about how the Steelers’ receivers are on board with the QB’s creative style. Roethlisberger was quick to point out how he’s not only on the same wave length with TE Heath Miller and WR Hines Ward, but WR Santonio Holmes has come a long way in knowing what to do when Big Ben scrambles out of the pocket. Roethlisberger also had good things to say about how he’s building a relationship with WR Limas Sweed and that he’s aware not to criticize the rookie for making a mistake or dropping a ball. Roethlisberger instead will give Sweed some encouragement and remind him that he’s getting the ball on the next series.

Roethlisberger is still young, but he has taken control of “his” team. He had a big smile on his face when he described how much leeway he has with the Steelers’ game plan and play script. There are plays Roethlisberger really likes and plays he has no use for, and according to him, he has the opportunity to do things his way.

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