Ben Roethlisberger: 10 Ways He'll Attack the New York Jets Defense
Big Ben is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. It's not because of record-breaking stats or elite athleticism.
It's because he simply wins.
With two Super Bowl rings and several playoff runs under his belt, Roethlisberger is looking for another shot in the Super Bowl. He has to be the Jets first.
Here are 10 ways that Big Ben will attack the Jets defense.
10. Using Screen Plays
The New York Jets blitz just about as much as any team in the NFL. What's the best way to counter the blitz?
An effective screen game.
However, lobbing up a floater to be intercepted like Tom Brady did last week won't help the Steelers' chances. Disguising the screen and make a precise play is important.
9. Keep The Pocket Moving
The Jets like to bring pressure and have a strong defensive line. If Roethlisberger can encourage his offensive coordinator to get him in a moving pocket for a few plays, it would help get him time to look down field.
Roethlisberger throws well on the run and few roll-outs would be a good idea.
8. Use The Quarterback Draw and Sneak
Roethlisberger has the benefit of taking snaps from Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Although he is just a rookie, Pouncey has proven to be an excellent blocker.
If the Steelers get into a second down and inches, why not just run a quick quarterback sneak and pick up the first down?
With how strong and agile Roethlisberger is, the quarterback draw could be effective near the goal line.
7. Use Awareness in The Pocket
There will undoubtedly be chaos surrounding Big Ben at times during the game on Sunday. His ability to manage it will be key.
Stepping up in the pocket when appropriate and sliding to the side to avoid inside pressure will both be important maneuvers to counter the Jets' pass rush.
6. Break Tackles and Escape Sacks
Jets defensive lineman Trevor Pryce compared Ben Roethlisberger to a polar bear this week. That may be a bit of a stretch.
Big Ben is beastly however, and thrives in slipping sacks and breaking tackles. He's about the best there is at extending plays and turning potential negatives into huge positives.
5. Throw at Antonio Cromartie
Antonio Cromartie is a fine corner—in coverage. He's not a tackling standout.
Roethlisberger would benefit from sending a wide receiver screen Cromartie's way. Just finding his receivers in space against Cromartie sets up potential yards after the catch.
Also, when you throw at Cromartie, you aren't throwing at Darrelle Revis.
4. Stay Composed
Yeah, this one is obvious. But it's worth stressing. The Jets are like sharks in water just waiting for a whiff of blood.
Roethlisberger needs to remain calm even when things aren't going well. He does this well, overall, and continuing that in the AFC Championship Game is crucial.
There's nothing that gets a defense revved up more than knowing that it's under your skin.
3. Don't Get Greedy
This game—as so many playoff games do—will come down to who makes the critical mistakes. It's less about what you do and more about what you avoid doing.
Roethlisberger needs to remember the value of throwing the ball away or just tucking it and taking a sack. Committing a turnover at the wrong time can cripple the Steelers.
2. Use The Deep Ball To Stretch The Field
Roethlisberger has the luxury of having one of the preeminent deep threats in football in Mike Wallace. If Big Ben can hit the deep ball just once, it changes the game.
This piggy-backs off of not being too greedy. Finding the balance between the huge play and the huge mistake is a responsibility of Roethlisberger's.
1. Stick To The Running Game
This will largely be in the hands of the offensive coordinator, but Roethlisberger will have audible options. Just because a run doesn't look like it will be successful or if the running game isn't working doesn't mean you turn away from it.
Establishing a commitment forces commitment from the defense. Even if the yards per carry average isn't great, pounding the ball away can open up the rest of the offense.