|Patriots know Ben Roethlisberger is still a load||10.25.11 at 1:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Ben Roethlisberger has earned a reputation in the NFL for many things.
He’s a riverboat gambler when it comes to quarterbacking, taking chances others at his position wouldn’t even consider. He’s known as a winner, having won two Super Bowl rings and made another last February in a loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. He’s gotten into trouble off the field with a motorcycle and his alleged antics at a Georgia nightclub.
But when he’s on the field, the product of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is known as the single-toughest quarterback in the NFL to bring down to the ground.
“Even if you hit him, you’re not going to take him down,” Patriots nose tackle Albert Haynesworth said Tuesday, five days before he and the Pats take on the big challenge at Heinz Field. “He’s a guy that can break a lot of tackles and get away from the rush. Even if you’re hitting him and he’s going down, he can still throw the ball. With him, you definitely emphasize finishing a rush or finishing a tackle because he can still get away.”
Roethlisberger can still get away because he’s still 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds and can still push defenders away. What the Patriots need to do – as shown in the picture here – is gang tackle him and finish their tackles when he has the ball, keeping him from keeping the big play alive.
“He’s got more experience, you know, with time, but he’s still a really good quarterback. A great quarterback. The guy has won a lot of Super Bowls, and played a lot of football,” Haynesworth added.
What Bill Belichick no doubt has reminded his team of – beyond his size – is Roethlisberger’s willingness to hold the ball a bit too long. The Patriots sacked him five times last year in the 39-26 Patriots win at Heinz Field. So, as much as there’s the potential for Roethlisberger to keep a play alive, there’s also the chance he holds onto the ball too long. He has been sacked 20 already in seven games this season fumbling five times, losing four.
When linebacker Rob Ninkovich watches Roethlisberger, like he did this past Sunday on TV against the Cardinals, he sees another linebacker who happens to play quarterback.
“He’s a big guy,” Ninkovich said. “He’s big and can move. Anybody who is 260 pounds and can move is hard to get on the ground. He’s going to be a challenge for us to contain him and keep him in the pocket.”
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