Ben sees po­ten­tial in Kid Car­son

Roeth­lis­berger mixes high praise of Wentz with words of cau­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

“Heady player, smart, un­der­stands the game, phys­i­cally gifted both with his legs and his arm, can make all the throws. I thought I was go­ing to be fac­ing him two times a year in Cleve­land.” – Pitts­burgh’s Ben Roeth­lis­berger

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Twice, Ben Roeth­lis­berger re­minded the crowd at the other end of the con­fer­ence call here Wed­nes­day how Ea­gles coun­ter­part Car­son Wentz is only two games into his NFL ca­reer.

Once with “He’s played two games.”

Twice with “Like I said, he’s played two games.”

You just knew if Big Ben re­peated it one more time there would be a “click” and a dial tone com­ing from the speaker.

Chalk that up to age and re­sume. Roeth­lis­berger is 34, which is bor­der­line an­cient for an NFL quar­ter­back. He’s in his 13th sea­son with the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers, who are fa­vored by just about every­one to put a whup­pin’ on the Ea­gles Sun­day at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field. His record as a starter is 115-56. He’s never played less than 12 games in a sea­son.

While Wentz has played two games, Roeth­lis­berger has won two Su­per Bowl ti­tles with the Steel­ers. That can make an older

man testy. Might as well ask him why he wasn’t the MVP in ei­ther of those Su­per Bowls.

Roeth­lis­berger took the ques­tions any­way. After all, he and Wentz share the same agent, Ryan Toll­ner of Rep 1 Sports. Toll­ner got them to­gether be­fore Wentz was drafted to work out and chat.

What im­pressed the Real Big Ben?

“Just about what you guys are see­ing now,” Roeth­lis­berger said. “Heady player, smart, un­der­stands the game, phys­i­cally gifted both with his legs and his arm, can make all the throws. I thought I was go­ing to be fac­ing him two times a year in Cleve­land.”

The me­dia house at One Nova Way erupted with laugh­ter over the Cleve­land re­sponse. The Browns traded the sec­ond over­all pick to the Ea­gles be­cause they pre­ferred in­jury plagued quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III and the bun­dle of draft picks they got in the deal. Grif­fin is hurt. It’s only two games, as some­one pointed out, but it looks like those draft picks are go­ing to need more time to blos­som than Wentz, who is 2-0 as the Ea­gles’ starter.

But back to Roeth­lis­berger, who at 6-5, 240 pounds, has the same body

type as Wentz. Big Ben is the mas­ter of im­pro­vi­sa­tion and keep­ing plays alive, which also hap­pen to be ob­ses­sions of Wentz.

Roeth­lis­berger is pay­ing at­ten­tion to Wentz. The ab­bre­vi­ated scout­ing re­port is in­ter­est­ing.

“Well, he’s play­ing well,” Roeth­lis­berger said. “You know, it’s hard. He’s played two games. But he’s not try­ing to do too much. He’s tak­ing what the de­fense gives him. He makes plays when he needs to and throws the ball when­ever he needs to. So I think he’s do­ing some good things.”

Roeth­lis­berger seemed un­com­fort­able on the Wentz Wagon trail yet con­tin­ued. Surely he sees some of him­self in Wentz.

“Well I think he’s a guy that when in trou­ble uses his legs to get out of trou­ble, and so I think you see some of that,” Roeth­lis­berger said. “You see some ath­leti­cism com­ing from him. Ob­vi­ously he’s a lot younger than I am. But like I said, he’s played two games. He’s got a long way to go but he’s on the right track.”

Wentz was re­spect­ful when asked about Roeth­lis­berger, and right­fully so, con­sid­er­ing all his coun­ter­part has done.

“To be com­pared to a guy like that, that’s pretty im­pres­sive,” Wentz said. “I’ve got a long way to go. That’s first and fore­most. But I’ve al­ways ad­mired the way he plays.

I love how he can ex­tend plays and im­pro­vise. He’s not afraid to chuck the ball deep and make some plays. So I def­i­nitely ad­mire his game.”

Wentz says he looks for­ward to get­ting to­gether again with Roeth­lis­berger, that they didn’t spend much time talk­ing about foot­ball be­fore the draft. The con­ver­sa­tion was more about out­door sports.

“He’s a big out­doors guy,” Wentz said. “We talked a lit­tle bit about our back­ground and what we like to do off the field. He’s a great guy and I’m look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing against him.”

The foot­ball con­ver­sa­tion the big quar­ter­backs had wasn’t about how to pro­tect your­self when you’re out of the pocket. Roeth­lis­berger said he learned that les­son the hard way through the years. No, the talk was about be­ing your­self and not forc­ing plays.

“I think the thing that was most im­por­tant that I try to re­lay to young quar­ter­backs is don’t try and do too much,” Roeth­lis­berger said. “Let the game kind of come to you. Let the flow of the game, let the team, let every­thing just kind of flow to you and don’t try and do too much.

“And I think he’s do­ing it right now — awe­somely. If that’s even a word, awe­somely.”

Make it awe­somely and awe­somely … it’s only been two games, you know.


Steel­ers quar­ter­back Ben Roeth­lis­berger, here car­ry­ing the ball against the Cincin­nati Ben­gals last Sun­day, still has es­capa­bil­ity de­spite his 6-5, 240-pound size and 34years of age.

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