The Pittsburgh Steelers will begin another season of the annual drama “Life without Ben Roethlisberger,” Sunday when they host the New England Patriots.
Playing without Roethlisberger is something the Steelers are accustomed to by now. Roethlisberger’s replacement, Landry Jones, started two games in his place last season. But Pittsburgh’s offense will be dramatically different without Big Ben under center. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had some interesting ideas for how to get the offense in sync without its quarterback. Force-feeding star receiver Antonio Brown is never a bad idea, until it is.
“Sometimes, AB will just have to be Superman,” Heyward-Bey told TribLive.com’s Ralph N. Paulk. “I say just throw the thing — double-teamed, triple-teamed, who cares? If we do that, we’ll throw picks. “It doesn’t make any sense. Why tell an old lady to cross the street? Why not put her in a car and take here across the street?”
So, throw the ball to Brown, but don’t get intercepted? Makes sense. What Heyward-Bey was trying to say was Jones should make sure Brown gets his targets, but to use moderation. He also doesn’t want Brown pressuring the third-year quarterback to throw him the ball.
“We want to throw (Brown) the ball, but we have to make that flow happen. He can’t go to Landry and tell him to throw the ball no matter what. If he throws a pick, who am I going to look at? I’m looking at 84 (Brown).”
Targeting Brown hasn’t been a problem for Jones, however. In Jones’ two starts in relief of Roethlisberger last season, Brown caught 9 of his 16 targets for 148 yards. It’s clear Jones understands the mantra, but it will be interesting to see how he executes it this week against New England.