PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger overcame a slow start on a cold day to impress Steelers coach Mike Tomlin with his throwing in a scrimmage setting.
Tomlin implied that Roethlisberger’s only other test before playing Sunday against the visiting San Diego Chargers will be in how he recovers Thursday morning from Wednesday’s work.
“I’ll see how his body responds in the morning, but it was a positive day today. He made all the necessary throws,” Tomlin said, before repeating himself to the next question.
“We’ll see how his body responded to the work that he did today, in the morning, and we’ll go from there,” Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger’s receivers, particularly Emmanuel Sanders – who did not practice – raved about Roethlisberger’s throwing velocity, but Roethlisberger admitted his arm strength is not up to his standards – yet.
“I’m getting there,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s cold out there so that doesn’t help. It’s just a little bit of pain. It’s tightness. We’re not worried about that feeling right now.”
Since only local media are invited to watch practices, but not allowed to describe who took how many reps with which group, Roethlisberger made it easier by saying, “I took three or four reps in each period, roughly, give or take a few. Just trying to get a feel for what throws I can and can’t make.”
Suffice to say that if Roethlisberger’s chest and shoulder area – from the injury to his S-C joint that compromised the stability of his first rib – isn’t bothering him Thursday morning, and he has no setbacks the rest of the week, Roethlisberger will start Sunday against the Chargers.
“I thought it was a positive day for Ben,” was how Tomlin opened his summarization with the media in a rare Wednesday afternoon press conference.
“He threw the ball around both vertically, horizontally. I thought the ball had good velocity, particularly in a few instances. It was positive. Obviously we’ll see how his body responds to it tomorrow, but I thought today was a good step.
“We did what we intended to do. We worked him and, really, Charlie (Batch) exclusively, and Brian (Hoyer) and Byron (Leftwich) kind of handled the scout team, so it’s a positive day from that standpoint. We’ll see what tomorrow holds for us.”
Tomlin added: “We’ve made decisions up to the 11th hour in the past. I don’t think that this will be a situation where that will be something that we’ll be doing, based on what I saw today.”
NOTES: Kicker Shaun Suisham was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for kicking 46, 41 and (game-winning) 42-yard field goals against the Baltimore Ravens. He’s made 24 of 25 field goal attempts this season. ... Missing Wednesday’s practice were Mike Adams, Antonio Brown, Ryan Clark, Willie Colon, Troy Polamalu, Sanders, Ike Taylor, Mike Wallace and LaMarr Woodley. ... The Steelers expect Colon, Brown, Clark, Polamalu, Sanders and Wallace to play Sunday.
(To read the transcripts of the Roethlisberger and Tomlin interviews, click here.)