Ben sees potential in Kid Carson
Roethlisberger mixes high praise of Wentz with words of caution
“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.