Ravens defensive coordinator: If you're watching Ben, you're watching the wrong thing

Justin K. Aller

The play breaks down, and that's when the play begins, quips Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who praised Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's improvisational skills Thursday.

Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees has had his share of Roethlisberger-induced heartburn over the years. As the Ravens' secondary coach before taking over as defensive coordinator when Chuck Pagano took Indianapolis's head coaching job, Pees is well-versed in the impromptu playmaking ability of Ben Roethlisberger.

He had a few clever quotes on him as well, as transcribed by ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

"The thing of it is we emphasize it obviously in the meetings and on film is that if you're watching Ben, you're watching the wrong thing," Pees said.

He spoke highly of the Steelers' wide receivers as well, who play right along with Roethlisberger's ability to create opportunities out of chaos.

"This is the best group of receivers every year of getting open off of scrambles," he said. "I don't know how they practice it or what they do, or maybe it's just habit because it happens in the game all of the time."

Scrambling quarterbacks can extend plays, and coordinating receivers to move along with the quarterback opens up seams in coverage. Teams oftentimes shift from an initial zone coverage scheme to man after a certain amount of time - the idea being if the play hasn't been blown dead after four seconds, the quarterback is on the move, and the defender should stay with his man.

If, as Pees suggests in Hensley's article, the Steelers don't begin their play until three seconds after the ball is snapped (a tongue-in-cheek comment that has some truth to it), there is coordination in regards to where Roethlisberger will roll and to which level he'll be looking to throw against certain coverage.

It's all part of the great chess match that occurs between coordinators during Steelers/Ravens games. Pees hasn't seen Roethlisberger under center since he became the Ravens' coordinator last season, but he seems well-prepared to face him Sunday. And anxious.

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