Working Out the Kinks
By DALE GRDNIC
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have done a good job with their no-huddle offense so far this preseason. Thursday night’s game at Philadelphia should provide a new challenge.
“We’ll see if we’ll do no-huddle on the road, which is usually a little different,” Roethlisberger said Monday. “Whether we do that or not, I don’t know, but that’s usually the good part about trying to get at least one series of no-huddle on the road, because the communication is a little tougher.”
Roethlisberger said there was one “very minor” mistake by the starters in a 19-16 win over Buffalo on Saturday night but otherwise he was pleased with the progress. He threw for a pair of touchdowns during his three series of work.
One of the goals against the Eagles will be to refine the hand signals the offense uses when trying to push the pace in hostile territory.
“We did a little test this year, and this week is going to be the last week,” Roethlisberger said. “I bring the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends in, and we give them a five hand-signal pop quiz. They have to write down what play is called and the route that they have.”
When the results are tallied, players with the three lowest scores have to buy pizza and wings for the entire offense. That includes the offensive linemen, who don’t use the hand signals.
That’s fine by left guard Ramon Foster, who figures he’s going to get a free meal either way.
“All we need to know is base, nickel or dime, so we’re good,” Foster said. “That’s 100 (percent) every time for us, so we’re all in.”
Roethlisberger came up with this test, so he’s keeping track of the scores.
“We have a running list that we brought from training camp, and it’s in the quarterback room,” Roethlisberger said. “There aren’t a lot of misses like you think, but it’s pretty close.”
Second-year wideout Derek Moye is in a heated battle for the final roster spots at receiver, but he wouldn’t admit if he’s also atop Roethlisberger’s dubious list.
“It’s been going pretty good, and I think everybody has everything down, for the most part,” Moye said. “But I don’t want to call anybody out and say who’s in the lead, the top three. But it’s been a lot of fun, and we’re learning all the little things we need to know about our offense.”
Roethlisberger also wouldn’t reveal which players had the lowest scores to date, but he said the competition has “about five guys” in the running to foot the bill for the pizza and wing bash.
“We’re starting to work real well with Ben, and we want to do everything we can to improve our offense,” receiver Antonio Brown said. “So, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
NOTES: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said RT Marcus Gilbert only completed some of the drills at practice Monday due to a stiff neck, and TE Eric Waters is being evaluated for a possible concussion. . OL Graham Pocic and CB Dayonne Nunley were signed Monday, while OL Bryant Browning was waived-injured and WR James Shaw was released.