Pittsburgh Steelers: What Ben Roethlisberger Should Focus on in Training Camp
Ben Roethlisberger will be expected to take on a lot of responsibility for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in 2012. Therefore, this is perhaps the quarterback's most important training camp since he entered the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were also forced to release legendary wide receiver Hines Ward due to salary issues earlier this offseason. The 36-year-old promptly retired.
Add in Rashard Mendenhall's torn ACL that could cause him to miss several games in 2012, and the Steelers will have a very different look to their offense when the regular season kicks off in September.
As the captain and most experienced player left on the offensive side of the ball, there will be an exceptional amount of pressure on Roethlisberger to get the unit on the same page and make sure the transition to Haley's playbook goes smoothly.
It's understood that the transition did not get off on the right foot. Roethlisberger, who had a close relationship with Arians, apparently hadn't spoken or heard from Haley for weeks after the hiring. There were questions about how the two would co-exist in Pittsburgh (per CBSSports.com).
However, Big Ben insisted that there was "no trouble" between the two, according to KDKA-TV (via NFL.com). He was even comfortable enough to go on SportsCenter and describe how well their relationship is progressing.
Another thing that Roethlisberger talked about in the SportsCenter interview was whether or not Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace would be ready to go by Week 1.
Roethlisberger believes that the 25-year-old speedster will be ready for the season opener. The probability of that happening will largely depend on how effective Ben can be at making sure Wallace is up to speed with the new offense.
The final new look to the Steelers offense is one that Roethlisberger will surely appreciate, as the quarterback has taken an absolute beating since coming into the NFL.
No quarterback has even come close to being sacked as many times as Big Ben since 2004, and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert decided to upgrade the offensive line this offseason via the 2012 NFL draft.
With the team's first two selections, the Steelers drafted Stanford guard David DeCastro and Ohio State tackle Mike Adams, both of whom should have a significant impact right away.
DeCastro was widely considered one of the best guard prospects in recent memory and he could have the same impact that All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey had as a rookie in 2010.
The two rookies will have a rare luxury in that everyone else on the team will be learning a new playbook as well.
Roethlisberger would be wise to try to get the talented linemen integrated into the first-team offense as quickly as possible, as they should be a significant upgrade over the mediocre linemen the Steelers have employed in recent years.
A transition year for the Pittsburgh offense means that Ben Roethlisberger's experience and leadership skills will be put to the test during the all-important upcoming training camp.
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