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No worries for Ben

September 4, 2014
By MIKE McLain - Tribune Chronicle (mmclain@tribtoday.com) , Tribune Chronicle

CLEVELAND - Ben Roethlisberger thinks it's a waste of time, but, then again, it's not his concern.

Roethlisberger is safe in his role as the unchallenged starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'd never have to worry about a read-option-style rookie quarterback named Johnny Manziel crashing his party with an offensive package designed to take playing time away from him.

"It's tough," Roethlisberger said of being involved in a two-quarterback system. "Me personally, I want to do whatever is best for this team, but I know where a lot of quarterbacks are coming from when they say they want to stay on the field. I'd want to stay on the field, too.

"It's the same thing when they talk about this wildcat thing that kind of came and I think went a little bit. When you line up with your quarterback behind center, it usually gives you the best chance to win. You want to get into a rhythm. You want to get into some kind of a flow and it's hard to do when you're alternating plays. I know how frustrating it could probably be for some quarterbacks."

Depending on what you've heard, the Browns may or may not be tinkering with the idea of giving Manziel a few plays as a change of pace to Hoyer's drop back style.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin added to the intrigue of Sunday's AFC North Division game Sunday between the Browns and Steelers by saying Tuesday he expects to see Manziel on the field wearing a helmet as opposed to a baseball cap. Tomlin was quick to point out Wednesday that he doesn't expect Browns coach Mike Pettine to spring Manziel on the Steelers in a starting role.

"No, I didn't say that the Browns were going to start him," Tomlin said. "I said that I expect them to utilize him in some way during the course of the game."

At the very least, Pettine has Tomlin and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau guessing during practice this week. Pettine's goal remains to keep whatever plan he has for Manziel under lock and key until the first time he sends him into a game.

"They were asked their opinion," Pettine said of the mind games being played. "We have our game plan set for how we'll play this game and we'll see how it plays out. I don't get into whether it's gamesmanship or whatever you want to call it."

Hoyer wishes he had the power that Roethlisberger carries in Pittsburgh. Four career starts (three last season with the Browns) gets Hoyer nothing but another seat in coach on the team charter. He's not in a position to resist the introduction of a Manziel package.

"I think Ben is a little more established than I am," Hoyer said. "Like I said after the game last week; if it helps us win the game, that's what it comes down to. Whether we win the game by a field goal, by one point, obviously as a competitor you want to be out there.

"If our coaching staff thinks there's a package that can help us win The team is way bigger than me. I'm a team player, but as a quarterback there's only one of us out there. You have to be a team player within the realm you are. I just want to win football games."

Like it or not, Hoyer might have a side kick to deal with as soon as Sunday.

 
 

 

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