Antonio Brown: Ben Roethlisberger's Criticism of Route Running Isn't Personal

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 30, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) greets quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) prior to an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown told reporters Friday that he is not taking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's criticism of his route running to heart.

"I've got big shoulders. I can take it," he said. "Constructive criticism is only for you to get better. It's not personal."                                    

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com added context:

"[Roethlisberger] was critical of Brown's route running on his weekly radio show, saying the receiver needed to run his route 'flat; on a third-down, goal-line interception in the final minutes of Sunday's 24-17 loss to Denver. Roethlisberger also said he wished he had thrown to JuJu Smith-Schuster on all four downs at the goal line."

Brown had a relatively quiet game Sunday as he caught nine passes for just 67 yards, but Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said his team made a point to stop him, which helped fellow wideout Smith-Schuster break out for 13 catches, 189 yards and a touchdown.

Roethlisberger and Brown haven't been on the same page in 2018 compared to previous seasons, though the two still have an excellent connection.

Brown has 71 catches, 874 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games, which would put him on pace for 103 receptions, 1,271 yards and 16 scores. However, that yardage total would be his lowest since 2012, and the number of receptions would be the second-lowest in the past five campaigns. Brown's catch rate is also just 58.2 percent, which is his lowest since becoming a starter in 2012.

Nonetheless, the Roethlisberger-Brown connection has been one of the more prolific quarterback-wideout tandems in recent history, and the Steelers are in good shape at 7-3-1 and in first place in the AFC North.

If Brown says he and his quarterback are cool, then there's nothing much to worry about as the team prepares for a monster Sunday Night Football matchup with the 8-3 Los Angeles Chargers.

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