A difficult aspect of print journalism is conveying the appropriate context behind the words a subject says.
Sometimes the subject is unaware of the unintentional context those words can be applied. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may or may not have had one of those moments when speaking with Post Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac.
The context of Dulac's story is regarding the possibility of the Steelers' offense breaking out in the 2013 season. This is presumably coming in wake of questions surrounding a generally vanilla output in the preseason.
It doesn't seem Dulac took him out of context at all, but it leaves the reader wondering what Roethlisberger's intentions are. Says Roethlisberger, "I know people look at me funny sometimes but I really think the offensive line is going to be good. They'll drive us in both the run game and passing game."
So Roethlisberger is aware of the skepticism that statement may bring. That's a good thing, because this offensive line hasn't driven anything anywhere. The Panthers best defensive player wasn't on the field and while the Steelers didn't have Roethlisberger under center, their starting offensive line was, and it gave up pressure on its first two passing plays. It gave up pressure lots of times in its only four games.
Now it's going to break out?
Roethlisberger noted his favorite topic, the up-tempo offense - which is another term for "no huddle," the same style offensive coordinator Todd Haley was so not-fond of last season.
"We haven't done any no-huddle, we didn't do any hurry-up stuff, there are a lot of things still out there that we've done in the past," Roethlisberger told Dulac. "It's not like we got any crazy, special surprises, but I think we can be a team that can really be up-tempo and moving."
In a vacuum, "up tempo" means "fast." In the NFL, fans have attributed it to powerful, explosive and, somehow, something synonymous with high-scoring. Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but he's led an offense that's in the bottom third in the league in scoring the last two years. It's hard to accept the reason is because they don't get in and out of the huddle at break-neck speed, relying solely on him to call plays. His offensive line struggles in protection when they are, presumably, clear and on the same page in the huddle, how is doing away with that going to help things?
Perhaps it will. Who knows?
Admitting this can be construed as taking his comments out of context, but perhaps the Steelers' offense would be better off catering to something that puts points on the board, regardless of whether that has the ball snapped when there are double-digits left on the play clock.
I'm not looking at Roethlisberger in a funny way at all. If he's right, great, let's see the Steelers offense thrive. But the words "Steelers offense" have not brought out the word "thrive" in a while.
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